In a question posed to me from one of the original founders of my “day job” company in corporate America, I share the following thoughts:
Thanks Matthew! I have thought a lot about the C.S. Lewis comments and agree. Short of just letting life happen, my question is what responsibility do we have to the following generations to continue to build on Biblical values?
Have a great Thanksgiving!… Greg
Greg, these questions are superlative. I was especially thrilled to respond to this one about the preeminent obligation of the present-day Church to fulfill a sacred responsibility of perpetuating the values of the divine infrastructure on earth.
On the possible approach to disseminating Biblical value to future generations, I appreciate that you included the option of “letting life happen.” We certainly have the option to merely fulfill our private duties to God without intentionally contributing towards the needs of the future-state of the Church. There would be nothing inherently “wrong” with quietly and piously going through life until we one day awaken in heaven, having “not lost” our individual match against darkness without having succeeded to position the Light to spread victoriously into the future generations of souls. However, to merely “not lose” in the ongoing cosmic contest for human souls, as a coach of mine used to say about a soccer match that ends in a tie, “is a bit like kissing your sister.”
To me, our contribution to reaching future generations with Biblical values reaches beyond the idea of leaving behind a legacy. This question touches on the profound responsibility of Christ’s followers to perpetually communicate the enduring value and relevancy of our faith in an ever-adaptive marketplace of cosmopolitan ideas. To this end, as you know, in my weekday before/after work hours and weekends, I’ve dedicated a great effort to developing an entire universe in a creative intellectual property that puts a fresh coat of conceptual paint on the Scriptural construct and I’m currently in the process of completing a massive philosophical undertaking to synthesize Scriptural truth with scientific findings and global mythos. I think this question you’ve posed to the group strikes at the core motivation that has spurred me along for all these years. Until your question had me contemplating the matter, I’m not sure I’d ever considered that it’s precisely this responsibility to pass Biblical value to following generations that has been charging me all along.
Thanks for inclining me to ponder this. You inspired a little essay. For anyone interested in reading, these are my thoughts to this question of “What responsibility do we have to the following generations to continue to build on Biblical values:”
Happy Thanksgiving Gents!
On the Divine Physics: “You Are a Soul, You Have a Body”
When presented independently, even to any rational secular audience, it seems that the validity of the fundamental moral virtues presented within the Scriptures are never challenged in and of themselves. No reasonable person questions the admirability of splendid human displays such as love, justice, kindness, peace, self-discipline, wisdom, courage, etc. Because all people at least start out wishing to be “good people,” and because every rational person can philosophically comprehend the general definitions of these commonly-accepted virtues, every sane soul recognizes the virtues as the substance of character that makes for “good people.” Hence, the desirability of these virtues is not debated, perhaps in part because they are not exclusive presentations of the Scriptures. A multitude of writings and traditions likewise place immense significance on these same values of human character. However, the personal manifestation of these widely-accepted virtues is not as simple as an intellectual assent to their validity as desirable expressions of human being.
Recognizing that the spread of good moral ideology is not tantamount to the spread of the Gospel, insofar as it pertains to the “building on Biblical values,” it is not a matter of the presentation of the concepts of the values themselves. Plato and Aristotle articulated the moral virtues as well as any of the great thinkers, but, apart from Christ, the virtues do not “take” in the human soul very well in this world. The Scriptures neither claim to be uniquely identifying or first discovering the moral virtues, nor do the Scriptures communicate that a person cannot exhibit a moral virtue apart from Christian faith. However, the Scriptures do offer a brilliantly distinctive promise that uniquely capacitates human beings to abundantly exhibit the moral virtues. The Scriptures describe a potentially magnified expression of the moral virtues in terms of the fruits of the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity described to be a sublime sort of Turbo-Charger in the engine of the human soul to live out Biblical value.
Although virtually identical to Biblical values, the moral virtues have plentiful representation which will be found throughout a plethora of writings composed prior to the New Testament. However, the Aspect of faith that uniquely capacitates human souls to lavishly exemplify these principles distinguishes the Christian life from all others. If we’ll allow Him, the Holy Spirit Who is given to those who call Jesus Lord and Savior enables the amplified realization of the moral virtues within the human soul. In his “Mere Christianity” (to keep on our C.S. Lewis train), the master apologist wrote that the fundamental difference in Christianity is not that the Scriptures “invented” the moral virtues, but rather, that the Scriptures carry the promise that God equips faithful souls to exhibit these values as predominant fixtures of personal being:
“It is quite true that if we took Christ’s advice we should soon be living in a happier world. You need not even go as far as Christ. If we did all that Plato or Aristotle or Confucius told us, we should get on a great deal better than we do. And so what? We never have followed the advice of the great teachers. Why are we likely to begin now? Why are we more likely to follow Christ than any of the others? Because He is the best moral teacher? But that makes it even less likely that we shall follow Him. If we cannot take the elementary lessons, is it likely we are going to take the most advanced one? If Christianity only means one more bit of good advice, then Christianity is of no importance. There has been no lack of good advice for the last four thousand years. A bit more makes no difference.
But as soon as you look at any real Christian writings, you find that they are talking about something quite different from this popular religion. They say that Christ is the Son of God (whatever that means). They say that those who give Him their confidence can also become Sons of God (whatever that means). They say that His death saved us from our sins (whatever that means).
There is no good complaining that these statements are difficult. Christianity claims to be telling us about another world, about something behind the world we can touch and hear and see. You may think the claim false, but if it were true, what it tells us would be bound to be difficult—at least as difficult as modern Physics, and for the same reason (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity).”
On this subject of “modern Physics,” the materialists have swept the scientific lexicon clean of the concept of “spirit.” This subtle subterfuge has manufactured considerable difficulties in the modern scientific discourse on the spirit-woven human soul (let alone physical examinations on how the Holy Spirit reaches into the faithful soul to amplify the exhibition of moral virtue). When major conceptual inhibitors such as this prevent rational souls from examining the truths of the Scriptures that promise the counsel of the Holy Spirit to express the moral virtues with consistently increasing excellence, our responsibility to future generations demands that we rationally overcome the gates of such materialist delusions. To be “building on Biblical values” for future generations then, in my view, the designs of heaven and hell as the domains from which human souls are respectively assisted or stifled in their exhibition of the moral virtues must be presented in a more-substantially packaged physical worldview.
Evangelically speaking, we do not seek to disseminate the “bare” Biblical values, as the seeds of these raw moral virtues do not tend to penetrate well through the human mind to take root and fully bloom within the soul. Rather, we evangelically seek to disseminate the Living Water to hydrate the seeds of Biblical values into the mature blossom of the faith of which Jesus is Perfecter. Ideally, our aim for future generations is to introduce the Holy Spirit through faith in Christ to as many humans as possible to maximize the realization of love, patience, kindness, justice, charity, wisdom, courage, etc. To attract as many rational souls to the Capacitor of Christian virtue, for popular presentation, a more conceptually ingestible design of the “mechanics” of faith is wanting. We the Church are in dire need of an updated pictorial paradigm that retrofits Dante’s physical worldview for the modern mind’s eye to recognize the spiritual realities at play within the triad physics architecture. To do so, the incumbent pursuit of the investigations of the Scriptural depictions of this creation need to occur in tandem with the findings of the scientific disciplines to synthesize a conceptual framework which displays this version of physicality as ‘mid-real’ (versus the sub-real and super-real physics architectures of heaven and hell, respectively).
Although they have succeeded in the conceptual de-physicalizing of “spirit,” the materialists have done so without scientifically addressing the life-force which animates and sustains all living creatures, from mitochondria to mankind. In most every known language, this life-force is commonly called by the same word which signifies both “breath” and “spirit.” The theologians have capitulated to the materialists’ subterfuge to change the meaning of words, permitting the false conceptual dichotomy between the “spiritual” realities and the “physical” realities. This is an overt violation of the logic of language that defies the common-sense observation that for physical reality to be without “spirit” is for physical reality to be without “life.” Moreover, all matter that physically moves does so by the Spiritual impetus within the fluid fabric of space-time. In this sea of space-time waters, physical reality is an interactive composition of the material and the spiritual. The spirit-motivated matter of this galactic iteration constitutes the entire presentation of the creation as it is received by the spirit-powered somatic machine of human sense-perception for upload into the spiritually-constituted human soul. The logical demand of anything that exists within any physics architecture is that its compositional substance is ultimately physical, including the somatic expressions of spiritual beings in the physics architectures of heaven and hell.
To state this matter the other way around: the primary challenge faced by the Church as we brave the future will be to mitigate the presently growing disparity in the popular mind’s eye between the pictures of the “real world” and the “spiritual world.” The scientific theorizations carried within Dante’s early Fourteenth Century poetry inspired the images that still adorn the Duomo di Firenze today. This physical landscape of the spiritual universe has not since been modified and now appears as a cartoonish fairyland to the intellectual sensibilities of contemporary conceptualizations. Hence, the popular imagination of the triad physics architecture has been left to languish in the modern mind. The citizens of heaven who still somatically dwell on earth have been made to envision the “realities” of heaven and hell as a hybrid of cartoonish nonsense paired with ridiculous philosophical notions of non-physical existence. In my estimation, the greatest gift we can give to future generations is a modernized rationalization of the physical infrastructure of heaven, space-time, and hell, such that an intellectually palatable model of the situation of the soul can permit sophisticated contemplation of the unseen physical systems at work within the interactions of spirit and matter in this middle physics architecture.
I’m walking this idea around the park a bit, I realize, but I’m driving at what I believe to be the slickest deception of the “world,” which is that lie that the “spiritual” is a separate and distinct form of being from the “physical.” To omit spirit from considerations of perceptible physical reality is philosophical applesauce, tantamount to the absurdity of discussing oceanography only in terms of the solid contents of sediments, plants, and creatures within the ocean while omitting considerations on the properties of water and the fluid mechanics of buoyancy and currents. This spiritual/physical faux-dichotomy presents heaven and hell as domains without physical expressions or constraints, making these architectures seem to be scientifically unreal by the scientific definition of “real.” Thus, even as the life-force which courses throughout the human body to perpetuate the living state which fundamentally equips the human to contemplate the creation, this plainly active animating spirit is presently being omitted from scientific inquiry. Despite the undeniability of the unseen mechanics of spirit, the malformed precept that the word “physical” can be logically dislodged from the word “spiritual” (and vice-versa) has been permitted to prevail within popular culture. The result of the deceptive decoupling of spirit from physics is that a man must now compartmentalize his beliefs about the spiritual realities of his faith from his beliefs about the realities of the world, despite the Scriptures’ sure position that the real “world” is under the dominion of a hauntingly real dark leader from the sunken physical realm of the abyss.
The Spirit hovering over the waters in the second verse of the Scriptures carries profound signification that requires much more treatment than the succinct aims of this essay’s design, but let it be sufficient to note that these considerations have already been given comprehensive considerations in lucid physical proofs from the philosophical treatise mentioned in the introduction cover letter. To conceive of a non-physical force-carrying agent interacting with physical systems in any effective way is considerably more philosophically bizarre than imagining that shining a flashlight on a boulder could set it to motion. If the forces of the spiritual nature are non-physical, then they would likewise be incapacitated to bear effect on any physical system. Under this arrangement, all physical systems would then be compositionally defined as material-only energy formations. If material energy were the only form of physical energy, then the motivation of the material energy form must be conceived as an impossible self-starter, something akin to a man lifting himself off the ground by tugging on his own jacket collar. The force-carrier inside the waters of the sea of space-time which both projects matter and governs its gravitational motivation intimately interacts with the subatomic material substances of “visible” material energy expressions and can be (and has been by this author) displayed to interface with the photoelectric force (light), making Paul’s “weight of glory” a heavy and brilliant proof of the supernal infusion of scientific truth within the inspired details of the physics communicated by the Scriptures.
The most important responsibility we have to perpetuating Biblical values is the demystification of the spiritual component to all physical realities. In a grand overhaul of physical worldview, the decoupling of spirit from physics must be prohibited from all scientific theorizations. The physicality of a triad physics architecture (heaven, space-time, hell) can be scientifically rationalized under the realization that the substance of spirit which composes the human soul and the substance of space-time is physically describable. If the soul remains a fixture of fantasy that “symbolically” represents the mystery of human personhood, then the lie that you or I will be found in the neurological signatures of our grey matter will prevail (believing that the “real you” can be located within in your brain is as ludicrous as believing you might find your courage within your spine). Until the spiritual construct of the soul is treated as a physical entity that exhibits scientifically observable phenomena, future generations will not know of the entity of personhood within which Biblical values are realized. Under the decoupled model of spirit and physics, the soul will continue to be increasingly estimated as an imaginary fancy of an ancient illusion that has no relevance in modern discourse. No different than the force of gravity we can certainly sense but cannot see its means of conveyance, the physical laws of the undeniable spiritual force of the living soul can be scientifically described from rigorous examination of the requisite logic of soulish phenomena (i.e. language, laughter, fashion, music, etc.). Since faith is a certainty about what we do not see, certainly, we can confidently hope to scientifically identify the expressions and constraints of spiritual realities through observations of physical behaviors in the universe which has been made visible to us.
The relationship of matter, spirit, and soul should not be a conceptual stretch of the thoughtful imagination for those of us who traffic in software and technology. Even a cursory contemplation of the computing systems that collective human being has designed to operate “in their image” betrays the association of interfaced hardware with ethereal software code that can be accessed on an individual basis within the security of the shifting nebula which stores account data. The quality of the data upload into the account of the soul is a function of keeping the “bugs” out of the software such that the spirit which is given to man can be utilized to fashion a metadata-body of virtue, that “treasure in heaven” which reveals the where station of the heart has been situated. The wondrous cognitive architect of the prevailing conceptualization of the physicality soul associated the supernal sourcing of the life-force which may ultimately blossom into the virtues, those substances which endure in eternity, writing that divine seed “germinates immediately in our soul, growing and extending itself diversely into each power of the soul according to its need. It springs up, then, in the vegetative, sensitive, and rational powers, and branches out through the virtues of all of these, directing all of them to their perfection and preserving itself in them until the moment when, together with that part of our soul which never dies, it returns to heaven to the highest and most glorious Sower (Dante, Convivio Trattato IV, Capitolo XXIII).”
If the soul were physically unreal, then the virtues imparted by the Scriptures would have nowhere to subsist, no temple for exhibition, and no place in the minds of future generations. Peter wrote of God as the Capacitor of Biblical values within the souls of the faithful: “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and virtue. Through these He has given us His precious and magnificent promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, now that you have escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires (2 Peter 1:3-4).” The Greek here translated as being divine “nature” (φύσεως/physeōs) is the root of the Latin-English word for “physics” and “physical,” meaning that these verses from Peter point to the physics of glory and virtue, stating that the risen Christian soul participates in these divine physical expressions of Christian virtue while still subsisting in a decaying material body within an entropic physics architecture. To conclude these thoughts on the responsibility to transmit Biblical values to the future generation, I was reminded of a commentary from the past. In an 1892 article on the subject of mourning, from the pious mystic who was a noted influence of C.S. Lewis for his writing of his “Chronicles of Narnia,” we the Church have our marching orders for exactly what we are to pass to our children as the foundation on which Biblical value is to be built – George MacDonald wrote: “Never tell a child, ‘you have a soul. Teach him, you are a soul; you have a body.’”