Earth and sky, forest and field
Dichotomy: can't get a handle on it... can't beat it... can't ignore it. Will there be any relief?
How exactly did we make that upward stumble to cognitive abilities? When did we start being able to say words like "dichotomy" and think about how they define us? We easily recognize antonyms: order/chaos... eternal/temporal... life/death… joy/pain. We instinctively filter our dichotomous observations and experiences through a moral filter, often labeling them as "good" or "bad". From whence any notion of good or bad?
We juggle two seemingly contradictory realities:
Even those who strive to enjoy living life to the fullest—as if this were all that there is—make their way home in the early morning hours with a lingering unease in their breast:
"Looks like freedom but it feels like death;
We theorize about how to reconcile things like the existence of a loving God with the reality of the wretched world in which we live:
This dichotomy is unavoidably the foundational point of reflexion in our philosophical/religious belief structures. For example, the popular Chinese 陰陽 yīnyáng, lit. "dark-bright", "negative-positive" represents the concept of dualism in ancient Chinese philosophy.
Back in the day, I was drawn to writings of and about Japanese Zen masters. The attraction was Buddhism's underlying perception of duality, the apparently unresolvable tension between two equally powerful yet antagonistic forces, and the transitoriness of everything related to our physical existence.
At the level of cold, clear observation, this does not seem too different from what a Christian sees. Of course, how we interpret what we perceive in philosophical or spiritual terms differs radically.
That said, I feel an affinity with anyone who attempts to wrestle with the profound difficulties that our dichotomous existence presents and who, in an honest manner, strives for the symmetry that we somehow assume to be there, albeit just beyond our reach.
The possibility that the dichotomous nature of our existence is in itself not eternal, offers hope. If the Bible can be believed, God is the absolute… the static factor. The good/evil tension exists outside of his eternal being. It is, then, part of what was created, separate from his essential being. If the dichotomy that underscores every aspect of life had a beginning, then is it not reasonable to suppose that it will also have an end?
Our Scriptures justify our hope. Just as we are said to have been created in the image of God… “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…” Genesis 1:26, so the entire cosmos is a reflection of him... “his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world." Romans 1:20
The phenomenon of an expanding universe propels our conjecturing beyond origins to the plausibility of a cyclical universe. Some postulate that the expansion we observe may not be an infinite function. A critical juncture may be reached when the process will reverse, causing the universe to implode.
Could it be that the same cosmos that reveals things about God, may also augur its own demise? Whatever emanated from him, returns to him. That which was spoken into existence is reclaimed. All things are brought back into subjection to Jesus Christ… "God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” 1 Corinthians 15:27… including death… "death shall be no more" Revelation 21:4… everything new and untarnished… "I saw a new heaven and a new earth." Revelation 21:1.
The illusion of dichotomy as a perpetual tension, ebb and flow, yin-yang... is just that: an illusion. Dichotomy bleeds back into the sovereignty of God.
With this as a backdrop, we see the same God offering a promise of genuine release—eternal and irrevocable—from the bondage we struggle against every moment. "He will swallow up death forever." Isaiah 25:8 ... "and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery." Hebrews 2:15
And in the end, all God, all in God and nothing but God.
"When all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.” 1Co 15:28
Yes...! As of July 5, 2020, my book is now available on Amazon.com.
It's a new book about an old problem: the cross and the crown… the Gospel and politics… do they mix? Should they mix?
If my words generate some reflection and healthy conversation—as in more light and less heat—I will be satisfied.
For feedback or questions, feel free to use the email link below.
Greg grew up in Menomonee Falls, WI. His ministry began in 1976: 5 years in Central America, 37 in Mexico. Church planting and discipleship have been his passion.
"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field." -Matthew 13:44
GREG'S other BLOG
Concise devotions in Spanish and English, along with some lengthier essays… Designed for personal spiritual growth and to help anyone studying English or Spanish as a second language to improve their skills… Rev 14:6