Do Not Despair!
Postmodernism has dominated the world for more than a generation. While postmodernism rejects absolute truth, it exalts me, myself and I as the ultimate authority. The result is the profound fragmentation of the world. Without divine intervention our world would soon disintegrate. Yet, as promised, God has been actively present to preserve and protect the universe, this world, life and humanity (Matthew 28:20). Because he is present with self-emptying, loving authority, our world is not destined for ultimate extinction. Moreover, above the “sound and fury signifying nothing,”1 God invites human witnesses to grasp his divine revelation — to understand and accept him, to receive and return his gifts, and to celebrate all that he has done and all that he will do (Philippians 2:5-8; Revelation 3:20; 22:17). Soon the One who constitutes the Transformative Judgment will intervene and manifest himself to guide humanity and all Creation to a new and eternal age of infinite peace and positive possibilities.2
Let us then contemplate the divine past, present and future. Let us participate in God’s imminent intervention. And together, let us embark with him on his new and limitless Paradise.
The Divine Past
Escalating threats of global warming, destructive storms, devastating disease, terrorism, violence and death confront us. The ranting and reeling of political, religious, economic and other global power structures disturb us. The plans of religious fundamentalists to supposedly precipitate the tribulation and rapture by launching the final battle of Armageddon threaten us. We may feel distraught, abandoned and alone. But there is One who proclaims, “Be not afraid . . . ” (Jeremiah 42:11)!
That One is the Only God, who from eternity was the threefold Inner Being (Father), Outer Becoming (Son), and Mediatorial Effecting (Spirit). In himself he constituted covenantal relationality. However, before the “beginning” (Genesis 1:1) God had no “other” beside himself. He was alone. Yet he did not despair! Filled with kenotic (self-emptying) love, he decided to create the universe, with which and with whom he could relate.
Because he had nothing outside himself, God had to command Creation into existence out of nothing (creatio ex nihilo) (Psalm 33:9). The use of “command” required God to temporarily adopt an “other side” — an “opposing self” or “alter ego” — to his self-emptying love (Isaiah 45:7). Although this was a necessary step, how could God lovingly relate to something and someone that only existed under command? Yet, again, he did not despair!
In the face of command, God granted Creation the right of “free process” so that it could respond to divine command negatively as well as positively. Light could give way to darkness, interaction to collision, health to disease, peace to violence, life to death. This could cause desperate fear, but God did not lose hope!
Faced with the contradictions between command and free process, God ultimately decided to “possess” the human mind and thus to hopefully bring safety, peace and progress to all mankind.3 Possessive “god-consciousness” succeeded for millennia. However, “possession” excluded the human freedom of loving interrelationships with God himself and with each “other.” Nevertheless, God did not lose heart!
Finally, God began to withdraw human god-consciousness and allowed it to be replaced with surrogate power structures that claimed divine authority. While power structures have fostered the advance of civilization, they have dominated humanity for 6,000 years (possession) and thus excluded human “otherness” (relationality). Because their concern is centered on themselves, power structures always have ultimately collapsed. But, again, God did not despair!
When power structures began enslaving mankind, God intervened to initiate himself as the ruling power. With the enslavement of the Hebrews in Egypt, God appeared to Moses and declared himself to be the “I AM” (Exodus 3:14) — the ultimate kingdom, power and glory. God liberated the Hebrews and led them across the Red Sea and through the wilderness, where he made the Sinaitic covenant with them. There he promised to lead them, feed them, and protect them. Soon after, they became settled in their Promised Land. However, the Chosen People demanded the earthly authority of kings — like the nations around them. Yet God did not give up hope!
God proceeded to authorize earthly kings for rulership over Israel. Soon thereafter God granted humanity the gift of self-conscious “free will.” King David was the first to express this “interior” self:
The Psalms . . . are filled with I’s: the I of repentance, the I of anger and vengeance, the I of self-pity and self-doubt, the I of despair, the I of delight, the I of ecstasy.4
This was a profound advance in the journey toward loving relationality. Mankind then had the power of self-expression, the right to submit or to reject submission, the freedom to create or to destroy. With these gifts there was no need for God to despair!
Then God determined to lovingly empty himself, to become fully human, and thus to personally experience the consequences of command, free process, possession, power structures, and self-conscious free will. This he fully accomplished in his manifestation as Jesus Christ. The universal Ruler over all became the Servant of all. Ultimate Power became Ultimate Powerlessness. But God, as human, was not disheartened!
After years in a provincial village, helping to support a family of artisans, God as Jesus began his ministry in his chosen land. He recruited disciples and then ministered to the hungry, homeless and rejected. He healed the sick, raised the dead, and forgave sinners. Thus he expressed his grace — divine love and protection freely bestowed upon mankind. However, his loving care for others offended the power structures, and they accused him of blasphemy and treason. But God as Jesus did not despair!
In the end Jesus was arrested, tried, tortured and crucified. Nevertheless, he cried, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). And finally he declared, “It is finished” (John 19:30). In pouring out his life on Calvary, God paid the price for his prior use of command, free process, possession, power structures and free will. He also paid the price for mankind’s negative and “sinful” responses (1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23). With the death of Jesus, the “other side” of God died, the old covenantal order was terminated, and God rejoiced!
On the third day Jesus rose from the tomb to inaugurate the new covenant, the new God, the new humanity, and the irrevocable, relational co-existence of mutual, self-emptying love. “Henceforth I call you not servants . . . ,” Jesus said, “but I have called you friends . . . ” (John 15:15). Soon thereafter Jesus ascended bodily to heaven — but not before assuring mankind, “ . . . [L]o, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20). This was far from despair!
The Divine Present
Tragically, the significance of God’s self-emptying love in his manifestation as Jesus Christ not only has utterly escaped the world power structures, but it has largely failed to impact his followers. For the most part, Jesus’ followers have failed to understand the faith, hope and love that he expressed so profoundly throughout His life, death and resurrection. They have largely failed to perceive that all of God’s attributes are offered as gifts to mankind on the condition that they be received, returned and shared with “others.” As a result, political, religious and other power structures have rejected, abandoned or co-opted God’s heroic manifestation and authority as Jesus Christ. God, humanity and the universe have thus continued to suffer. Yet we need not be afraid!
We are rapidly approaching Creation’s final crisis. If allowed to continue, unlimited free process would result in the destruction of the universe. If allowed to persist, negative free will would bring the death of all humanity. If allowed to reign, command, possession and power structures would exclude all loving relationality. Does God have a solution to this crisis? The answer is “Yes.” Then let us not be troubled!
Through his divine revelation God is calling us to recognize that he came to earth as Jesus to faithfully, hopefully and lovingly accept the burden of his own Creation — the burden of command, free process, possession, power structures, free will and death. He also came to accept the burden of Creation’s own negativity — rebellion, sin, violence and death — long regarded as the “fall” of man. As this is revealed to our understanding, God invites us to accept the reality of the Christ event and to rejoice in the inaugural transformation of Creation in his resurrection (Philippians 2:5-8; Revelation 3:20; 22:17). Thus, rather than despair, let us celebrate!
The Divine Future
As we joyfully accept God’s revelation, he asks us to be his witnesses to a world distraught with despair. Soon he will return to convene the cosmic judgment (Matthew 24:27; James 5:8) — not of Creation but of himself! To foster this, he will resurrect all human beings who have died and gather them with all those who are alive (Matthew 25:31, 32; John 12:32; 1 Corinthians 15:22).
In view of the reciprocal human relationality inaugurated at his First Coming (John 15:15), we can conclude that God will then carefully and lovingly explain his own manifestation as the Judgment (John 12:31), what he has done, and what he intends to do — namely:
1. That Creation was always his intention.
2. That he has always purposed consensual relationality.
3. That he necessarily employed command, free process, possession, power structures, free will and death to achieve this end.
4. That he gave Creation the freedom to say “No.”
5. That he himself then bore the consequences of his creative actions and the penalty of the “No.”
6. That he invites Creation’s faithful, hopeful and loving response of “Yes” to his salvific actions and the resultant end of all fear (Philippians 2:5-8; Revelation 3:20; 22:17).
When Creation, represented by humanity, soon assembles before God’s judgment seat and lovingly supports his explanation of what he has accomplished, God will invite all humanity to join him in an eternity of mutual, blissful love without destruction, death and despair. Eternity will be filled with the joint exploration, discovery and development of infinite positive possibilities involving the co-existence of the Human God, of humanity, and of all Creation. Let us then heed his word and “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice” (Philippians 4:4)!5
If you long for the appearance of the Risen One (Second Coming) and the transformation of all Creation, we invite you to forward this statement, with or without your comments, to as many loved ones, friends, neighbors and acquaintances as you find appropriate — and invite them to do likewise. (This can easily be done by using the “send this article to a friend” feature in the website sidebar next to this article.) “Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20)!
- See “The Tragedy of Macbeth,” at shakespeare.mit.edu/macbeth/macbeth.5.5.html. (go back)
- See “God as the Judgment,” Outlook (August 2008). (go back)
- Over 30 years ago the Princeton University scholar, Julian Jaynes, assembled striking evidence that pre-civilized mankind was told what, when, how and why to do everything by hallucinatory orders from the right side of the human brain directed to the left side of the human brain. This two-sided or “bicameral” brain allowed God to “possess” mankind and thus to protectively guide human migration and settlement, the domestication of plants and animals, and the development of advanced technology. This possessive consciousness occupied the human brain from about 10,000 to 4000 BCE and then was gradually replaced by so-called imperial power structures, which, in turn, domesticated mankind. See Julian Jaynes. The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1976). See also Julian Jaynes Society, “Summary of Evidence,” at www.julianjaynes.org/evidence_summary.php; “Origins,” Outlook (September 2001); “The Dawn of Self-Consciousness,” Outlook (October 2001); “‘Life Is Bound Up,’” Outlook (April/June 2002); “Atonement I: Prehistoric,” Outlook (March 2006). (go back)
- Thomas Cahill, The Gifts of the Jews: How a Tribe of Desert Nomads Changed the Way Everyone Thinks and Feels (New York: Doubleday, 1998), p. 199. (go back)
- For further reflections on these matters, please search Outlook, at worldviewpublications.org/outlook. (go back)
Last Revised September 2011