Monday, December 30, 2013

snow globes and black coffee

The other day I craved black coffee, and enjoyed it.  That is a sure enough sign that something is dreadfully wrong with me.

Consider this from N.D. Wilson's Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl:
Honestly, I wasn't expecting this book to be all that deep, but it has proven to be one of the best answers to David Hume and the long tradition of skeptics that I've ever read.  And the book is hilarious.  That helps a lot, especially because Hume is really boring.

The problem of evil is a genuine problem, but it's not a logical problem. It's an emotional one. Wow.  My mind has been dancing around that truth for months now, but I never had such simple words to express it.  The problem of evil is not a problem of God's existence, it's a problem with our humility.  Without God, the concept of evil cannot exist.  Discomfort, yes.  Inconvenience, sure.  But not evil.  If you remove God, everything and everyone from Hitler to Mother Theresa is simply a matter of taste and fashion, not good and evil.

We do not want to hear an answer that puts us so low.  That's the real problem.


I am in a season of resisting the lowness, of not wanting to accept a cosmology that doesn't feature my comfort as the central focus.  Ouch.

In the book Prelandra, by C.S. Lewis, Dr. Ransom travels to Prelandra, or Venus, and attempts to keep Dr. Weston (who has been possessed by something completely evil) from introducing evil onto the maiden planet.  The book is kind of dull, as most of it consists of one long argument between the two men, but at one point Dr. Ransom realizes that words are useless, and he actually has to kill Dr. Weston.  Such an action offends his very cultured, British sensibilities.  Eventually, though, Dr. Ransom realizes that at its most fundamental level, evil cannot be reasoned with, and it must be killed to be stopped.

Wading through the content in my head is like sloughing through a blizzard some days, but every once in a while, a chat with a good friend stirs things up.  Thoughts dance around my head like flakes in a snow globe, and a beautiful landscape is put back aright.  We were exchanging prayer requests, and I finally found the words to express where I am.

I want to carry this unfulfillable longing without falling into despair or covering it up with a false reality.  To do so, though, I must both accept the smallness of my place in the grand story of everything and simultaneously put to death the sin and evil in my own heart.  I must both be still and put on armor.  Somehow it all ties back into Tolkein's concept of fighting the long defeat, but I'm going to need more coffee before I think about that.