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Out of his love for man, God gave him the freedom to choose between good and evil. It did not go unnoticed, even to God himself, that he might bear some responsibility for the ensuing nightmare of human history. So he parted with his son in an effort to pay for his mistake, to purge his guilt. He could pass this off as an act of mercy toward the human race he so loved, rather than as one of self-punishment for his original mistake, by conveniently placing the onus of punishment on Christ, who was, however, not taken in by this shrewd deception. He knew when he had been forsaken, and by whom, although he failed, understandably enough, to see just why. God, however, was well pleased with this displaced act of contrition, but just for good measure he sealed it with the Holy Ghost, thereby following self-duplication with self-triplication. Such are the complex self-deceptions and charades required when one tries to be both spectator at and agent in the same drama. It is hardly surprising that some have suspected God’s motives, finding it more plausible that he endowed man with freedom not out of love, but out of a need for entertainment.

—Carolyn Porter, Seeing and Being: The Plight of the Participant Observer in Emerson, James, Adams, and Faulkner (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1981) 130.

 

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