Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Predestination

This is part of a book that I had been working on. Perhaps one day I will complete it, but perhaps not. While it was intended to be partly autobiographical, it was also intended to convey some of my theological thought. I didn't do much in this regard except lay a bit of groundwork.

The book was to be in the context of love letters to my wife with a symbolic system of dates. These dates have a number of meanings, but this is not apparent unless seen in the full context.


The Twenty-Sixth of December in the Year of Our Lord Nineteen Hundred and One

Für meine liebste Elise,

Now that I’ve explained how I understand things that can never be truly understood, I will begin to explain how I understand predestination. I trust you realize that no matter how correctly I understand this subject, everything I say will be incorrect, even if it is correct from a certain perspective. Not only that, there is also the possibility that some, if not all, of it is incorrect from all perspectives. I hope this is not so, but if it is, I’m not worried. I will stand before God’s dread judgementseat without shame, and humbly say, “Yes, Lord. You are right. You are just. You are charity (i.e. caritas or ἀγάπη). Peccávi nimis cogitatióne, verbo et ópere: mea culpa, mea culpa, mea máxima culpa. Δέομαι ουν σου, ελέησόν με και συγχώρησον μοι τα παραπτώματά μου, τα εκούσια και τα ακούσια, τα εν λόγω, τα εν έργω, τα εν γνώσει και αγνοία, και αξίωσόν με ακατακρίτως μετασχείν των αχράντων σου μυστηρίων, εις άφεσιν αμαρτιών, και εις ζωήν αιώνιον. Κύριε, ἐλέησον. Господи, помилуй. Domine, miserere. Γένοιτό μοι κατὰ τὸ ῥῆμά σου. Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum. Amen, amen.”

Nonetheless, until I have a better understanding, I will assume that this is a rather good understanding, if not actually correct. Perhaps some of it needs improvement, but this is all I have at this time. I am quite comfortable in knowing that I will never fully understand for all eternity what I am about to explain as if I do understand it. This may seem as a paradox, but it is only in being comfortable with such a paradoxical perspective that one can be comfortable with a mystery. When a person is not comfortable with such a paradoxical perspective of a mystery, the result is either an erroneous and even heretical view of that mystery, or an indifferent view of that mystery, neither of which is desirable.

Now as I explained a couple of letters ago, God is outside chronological time, or rather, outside chronos. God is in eternal time, that is to say that He is in kairos. Kairos does not have a beginning or end, nor any thing that we can really relate to in regard to time, place, or even substance. Somehow, and there’s no point in trying to understand how, this world in chronos is within the world of kairos. From the perspective of chronos, we can only see chronos. But from the perspective of kairos, not only are both kairos and chronos seen, chronos is seen from the perspective of kairos.

Chronos did have a beginning, and it will have an end. When our time in this world of chronos is over and we are in kairos, we will eternally see chronos. I do not say that we will see chronos from beginning to end because we will see it from the perspective of kairos, in which there is no beginning or end. We will see all of chronos. I don’t even say that we will see all of chronos at once because the words “at once” also rely on our perspective from chronos. The words of the Miserere come to mind: “… my sin is ever before me.”

This is how men are afforded a great privilege that angels are not. Until a man is no longer in chronos and has entered kairos, that is to say, until he dies, he has the opportunity to humbly admit that he was mistaken of any and every error. However, once he has entered kairos, there is no change of time, place, or even substance. All is eternal. All is permanent. Once he has left this world of chronos, a rejection of God, like that of the angels, is eternal. This is why men can be redeemed and angels cannot, nor can angels fall at a later time because the only time they know is kairos, in which nothing can change. Satan and all his minions of fallen angels (i.e. demons) are damned forever, but we have time (i.e. chronos), so we must use it wisely.

When François de La Rochefoucauld said, “The only thing constant in life is change,” he was absolutely correct. However, when this life is over and we are in eternal life, whether with God or without God, everything is constant and there is no change.

Whenever an angel, whether good or evil, has appeared to men, the angel has not actually entered chronos. Scripture gives a rational answer to explain how this is possible, which even our nature can easily comprehend, in the words of the Archangel Raphael to Tobit and Tobias: “All these days I merely appeared to you and did not eat or drink, but you were seeing a vision.”

The same is true of God when He appeared to men, such as St. Stephen as he was being stoned, Moses on Mount Sinai and with the burning bush on Mount Horeb, when God gave Abram the name Abraham, and when God walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden. However, with the Incarnation, kairos was married to chronos. The God of kairos became a man in chronos. This gives cause for much pondering, particularly regarding the Body of Christ being both the Eucharist and the Church, but I will remain with the topic at hand.

From God’s perspective, He knows if you spend eternity with Him or not. Note that I didn’t say that God knows if you will spend eternity with Him or not, because it is incorrect to say that God will know anything, only that God knows. He does not know if you will do something, and He does not know that you did something, He just knows. (I could say, “He know,” since from a trinitarian theological perspective this would be grammatically correct, but I don’t want to get carried away.) The word omniscience could be used to describe this providing we realize it doesn’t actually define the true reality of what we’re describing.

Thus, from our perspective, there appears to be something we call predestination. However, from God’s perspective, there is no such thing since the root word destination only belongs in this world and not in a world without time or place. All God sees is (is here is both an auxiliary verb and a noun).

This was the easy part to explain. The hard part to explain is whether someone, from our perspective, is predestined to be with God in heaven, or without God in hell. I do have a way of explaining it, and it does work quite well for me, but I don’t know about anybody else. We can be sure that it is a mystery and we will never, even in heaven, understand it.

Nothing is random. This is obvious in working with computers, but it is the same outside the easily definable limits of computers. Outside of computers, the variables seem almost infinite, which gives the appearance of randomness, but if all variables are accounted for, nothing is random.

With God, everything actually is infinite; however, since God is also infinite, even true randomness in infinity is impossible from God’s perspective. Hence, it appears that God really does create someone to be destined for heaven or destined for hell. Since He is love, this is also impossible. Perplexing, no?

Love is an important part of the equation here because without free will, that is, the ability to accept or reject God, there can be no real love between God and His creature. So God gives us free will, men in chronos, and angels in kairos, and He knows. To us in chronos, He appears to know what we will do with free will, but from God’s perspective, He just knows.

How is this possible? With God, all things are possible, and I could just leave it as a mystery without explanation, but I have a, perhaps silly, answer. Of course, this answer does contain a seed of mystery, so it doesn’t actually define it.

To give the appearance of randomness in computer programming, algorithms have been devised to arrive at something that is pretty much impossible for us to predict. An important part of these algorithms is what is referred to as a seed. If this seed is kept secret, it is, if the algorithm is adequate, impossible for anyone to ever predict the outcome of that algorithm.

When God creates a creature with free will, that free will functions on a randomized algorithm. The seed in this randomized algorithm is an infinite one, one that is not in chronos, but in kairos. That seed is God Himself. Since this seed used in this randomized algorithm is infinite, it can be truly said that God does not, from our perspective, predestine anyone. And yet, because God even knows what He does not know, it could also be said, again, from our perspective, that He predestines everyone.

As I mentioned before, my love, I am quite comfortable with paradoxes. This is why I’m comfortable with mysteries.

You are a paradox. Don’t be offended, I just called you a mystery, and mystery is all I live for. I live for you.

In Liebe,

Dein Russell Jonah

P.S. Ich liebe Dich.

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