A precise idea

Gears inside of a watch

I am back to raising some questions, so if you are comfortable this post may be something to wait on before you read it…

Here’s the disclaimers…

1. I am not a universalist…any gospel that does not require our response is no gospel at all…

2. I do not have the answers…I am not that smart so please do not think I am pushing forward something I think I know, I clearly do not know.

3. I like it in the real world, meaning I want answers that I can relate to…answers that leave me “between the worlds” have very little appeal to me.

Maybe that’s enough disclaimers…

Ok, the negatives

Question #1…knowing that God can see everything, and He has all power so He could have chosen something else…is He possibly happy with how things have turned out? And if He’s not happy, is heaven a depressing place? How do you multiply unhappiness by infinity?

Question #2…given that we are quite comfortable with placing evil outside ourselves…ie: the devil as being the causative agent for all unhappiness and discomfort…where did the devils evil come from? He was supposedly created “perfect”, yet Jesus will say he was a murderer from the beginning…the point of this question is not trying to locate evil in God…it is looking at our dishonest approach in placing evil outside of us…Jesus will say “If you being evil know how to give to your kids…” He will also call Peter “Satan” and one of the disciples a “devil”…I have never ever, (and you probably have never) called a person satan…yet Jesus will not simply locate evil in Peter, he will essentially say Peter is functioning as evil…

Question #3: Have we as the Western church simply carried forward an “evolution” of human religious thinking by shifting sacrifices from animals and food to behavior and reinforced something Jesus came to dismantle?

Ok now the questions I consider positives:

Question #1: If God is infinity happy, what could possibly be the source of this joy?

Question #2: Is it possible that God has worked it ALL out with the same precision that He hung the planets and keeps our earth in a perfectly controlled ecosystem to sustain life?

Question #3: What was it Jesus “finished” on the cross?


I have been looking at human culture, the development of how we got where we are, it is interesting that the very first city was built from the lineage of murder…it comes from Cains and not Adams…

When I look at the religious nature of man, it is unavoidable that sacrifice is included in our core motivation, how in the world did we get this idea? I know most Western Christians will super-impose the idea that God killed an animal and clothed Adam and his wife after the fall, but the bible actually says he “made” tunics of skin for them, not that He killed an animal and skinned it for them…and when Cain brings his “tribute” God kind of does “Meh”, but when Abel sacrifices an animal the bible says God “regarded” and the word means to stand gazing in amazement…what if God was completely shocked of the idea that Abel would kill an innocent animal and think that it was something God was pleased with?

What if all sacrifice in religious activity was something God NEVER imagined it was purely the product of evil in us? How would God stop this “desire” from dominating the future of His creation (that He adores)?

As you trace the development of religious sacrifice it generally goes from human, to animal, to food…it is a reductionist movement the scriptures develop…until in the New testament the sacrifice we are to bring is “thanksgiving and praise”…as if that was actually a sacrifice…

I have been a fan of anthropology and society since watching James Burkes “Connections” series back in the 70’s…Marvin Harris was an anthropologist I got a lot of mileage out of, both use fairly unorthodox approaches, which I find reassuring…both of these men placed a particular burden on “ideas” as being the motivating force behind the development of humanities diversity…

I have an idea

Ideas are rather powerful things…they can lodge in our minds and actually become fixtures, science has even shown that scientist themselves struggle when facts confront standard ideas they have held to for a long time, so even the most academic and cerebral among us are subject to the power of ideas.

“Looking down on empty streets, all she can see
Are the dreams all made solid
Are the dreams all made real

All of the buildings, all of those cars
Were once just a dream
In somebody’s head” -Mercy Street/Peter Gabriel

Jesus brought some very radical ideas…he basically told the Jewish religious leaders: “You guys have spent a thousand years with your head stuck in the bible and yet not one of you has even seen the Father, you have not even a clue what God is really like”…

And the “idea” of religion was so bothered by the insinuation, it found a way to eliminate him, by making him a human sacrifice…but here’s where it got messy…the scapegoat came back…the victim who’s murder completely indicts all of humanity shows up and takes the stand in our defense…

What if the sacrifice of Jesus was only necessary for us, so we would stop the nonsense of making sacrifices?

What if God never needed it, but knew that unless he engaged the conversation it would continue?

Athanasius and the early church Fathers would say “Whatever God decides to save, he becomes”..in other words God is not distant and disconnected in ANY redemption process, he actually enters into the thing so His very Presence can transform it.

Perhaps that is the main reason Jesus would enter hell, so he could transform it…

Eph. 4:9 will tell us that the one who ascended FIRST descended and then ascended that he might FILL ALL THINGS…so maybe we should look deeply at what the lower parts of the earth means…if it means hell…well…he filled it up according to the verse.

But here’s the dog I’m trying to hunt with, I am beginning to suspect that we have elevated some ideas hard-wired into us from the fall, that empowers a religious way of thinking about God that He showed up to dismantle…ideas about sacrifice, service, temples and priests…Jesus apparently came to make us all of these things…and yet we still endeavor to “do” these things.

The Happy God

So what can God possibly be happy about in all of this…the sacrifices, the blood, the temples, the “us and them” of laity and clergy…

I recently posted this statement on facebook that caused some rather punitive responses…I said “The sacrifice of Jesus did not satisfy the blood lust of an angry God”…my point (that seemed to get lost in translation) was that God was not angry, he did not have a blood lust and this was not the point of the sacrifice at all…

What if God is perfectly pleased with what Jesus came and finished not because Jesus came and held his breath for 30 years and then got out of here, but instead because Jesus in coming completely dismantled the machines of human ideas that have been the cause of our pain? Ideas that still seem to move with power of their own…

What if unlike the movie/series Star Trek, God intentionally interfered with the prime directive and He knows the result that is inevitable? Our core culture is unavoidably irreparably altered?

What if God showed up to show us our future by reminding us that our origin was in Him and not in some chance romantic encounter of two frisky humans?

What happens when we discover we are innocent, and approved?

What happens to society when it discovers that there are now no more sacrifices, that they were for us all along and God was rather amused we even thought about it?

(Hebrews 10:18…our sins have been “remitted” therefore there is no need for a sacrifice)

What happens to the machine of religion when there is no more penance, no more sacrifice of mis-placed guilt, no more separation of the holy ones and the regular guys?

More questions of course…but I am beginning to believe that the same God who engineered the spinning of the planets so that they remain perfect in less than 1%, and the Master Engineer who created a planet that perfectly maintains conditions for life to thrive, with just the right amount of nitrogen, salt, sunlight and gravity…that Engineer has engineered a redemption that is just as faultless and precise…how could it not be?

And that would probably explain how He can be both in my pain and happy at the same time, because He knows the outcome of His engineering ability…I as well you have been changed…

This is the beginning of the mystery of Christ in us…Romans will say that, that which may be known of God is manifest WITHIN THEM…so the starting place to discover God is not in nature, it is not in philosophy or culture…that which can be known about Him is inside us…

What a brilliant and precise idea…built into us is the key to understand that which we were born to know.


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