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This was dashed off in response to Western Chauvinist’s excellent article entitled: On “Surrendering” without Giving Up, which begins:
A Response to Susan Quinn on her post, If They Try Harder, Do We Roll Over?
“My title sounds oxymoronic, I know. But, perhaps my favorite Catholic convert, G.K. Chesterton, was entranced by the seeming paradoxes of the faith that turn out to be simultaneously true — Christ is fully God and fully man (the hypostatic union). God is One in three Persons (the Holy Trinity as a Communion of Love). My little paradox isn’t anything as profound, but I contend it is possible to both “surrender” and to not give up.”
This makes me think about expertise, specifically the inerrant (read: provable) science of physics and the by-definition logical domain of mathematics. Some people, I believe, focus so hard on logic and materialism that they can’t bring themselves to accept that some paradoxes and logical impossibilities do exist.
This makes me think of miracles. Do you believe, can you believe, that Jesus raised the dead girl back to life? Do you believe Jesus really raised Lazarus from the dead after three days in the tomb? Do you believe that Jesus raised himself from the dead? And went on to commune with his disciples for weeks after that? Thomas wouldn’t believe until he put his hands in Jesus’ wounds, even the wound in his side that went straight to his heart. But Jesus said blessed are you because you saw and believed, blessed are those who believe without seeing.
And this leads me to thinking about credentialism, and to the even more powerful persuader, expertism. Elon Musk recently gently scoffed at exactly how Jesus fed 4,000 with a few loaves and fishes; to the effect that, he’d never seen it, and can’t imagine how it’s done. Well, I’ve only read of one account when this was done in modern times, by a missionary woman in I think South America who had to feed a dozen or so hungry volunteer workers on just a few tortillas. She prayed that this would be enough to satisfy all the men, and she broke the first tortilla into two and looking over put it on the first man’s plate and when she looked down again the tortilla was whole in her hand. She did this over and over until all the men were fed and satisfied. The story doesn’t say that she sneaked her eyes down to watch the reconstitution, and I doubt she did. But this was recorded for readers to believe, or not to believe. It’s just a book with an incredible anecdote, but I tend to believe it rather than not.
My point is that God makes the rules that matter has to follow, but He is not bound by any credo not to act outside these physical rules.
Life is magic, or “magic” if you prefer. Life is a matter of the Spirit, which supersedes the material, which actually brought the material into being in the first place. Life itself is magic compared to the physical world. One can try to explain it away as the workings energy and randomness controlled and responding to the laws of physics, as we currently obliquely understand them, and as such is even destined to be. But Life itself is not restricted to man’s current understanding or philosophy of physics. But what of the incorporeal? A materialist explains that consciousness is the result of, is produced by, physical laws and chance over time. How then does a materialist explain his own consciousness; and moreover, how does he explain his awareness of and acceptance of my consciousness, which he can’t test for apart from his own perceptions? What does he really believe about the nature of the universe? But to believe that the modern conceptions of the creation of the universe can be proven by modern experimentation and theorizing, and moreover will likely be understood by human minds some day, is a level of faith comparable to the faith in the non-material, the spiritual, realm of existence.
If you believe only in the material, the provable here and now, then you can’t believe in the Resurrection. If you can’t believe in that which defies the material world, then you can’t believe in God. If you don’t believe Jesus can be both fully God and fully man, a logical paradox, how can you believe in anything that isn’t easily parsed and understood? The human mind is not all-knowing, and never will be in this life.
In short, if you don’t, or can’t, believe in the resurrection of the dead, apart from some completely unknown physical and material means — if you can only believe in that which is possible according to modern thinking, then you can’t believe in God. And if you don’t believe Jesus is both God and man, then you can’t be believing in God. For to be saved you must believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and that God raised him from the dead.
Life is more than bread.