The Mystery of Mankind

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The biggest question human beings can ask is the question of existence.  Who are we and why are we here?  Is there a reason?  Is it all just meaninglessness and nonsense?  Lots of people have claimed to have the answer to the delight or consternation of many.  In his “Cipher of Genesis,” Carlo Suares muses that once you really try to comprehend your true beginning and why you are here, you come upon a brick wall of meaningless that is utterly hilarious.  There really is NO reason; nothing “out there” will provide the answer!  And it is then that you become born of God, your search for meaning truly beginning as you are left to find it completely within yourself.  Preston Harold tells us the Bible doesn’t tell us in a scientific, objective way where we come from but rather WHO WE ARE.  And WHO WE ARE still remains a great mystery:

Ardrey observes, “Were a brotherhood of man to be formed today, then its only possible common bond would be ignorance of what man is.”  Perhaps the question of man can never be answered to the satisfaction of scientists, but as each man seeks to answer it to his own satisfaction there is a source to which he may return that by its very nature should inspire his confidence: humanity’s legends…  The Genesis legend may be viewed as telling the story of man from the dawn of life, retelling it through each day.  It tells the story from every point of view and it is also a mound of truth enfolding the inner facts of life just as a “Tell” enfolds artifacts that reveal the lives of those who built and rebuilt upon the same spot.

Even though science has gifted humanity with great strides in knowledge and will continue to do so (it has by no means exhausted its promise), it does have its limits.  Our author states…

 Freud’s contribution to knowledge cannot be denied, and the value of Darwin’s work is inestimable, but together their theories do not suffice to explain Homo sapiens.  

ImageFrom the beginning, Darwin’s theory was questioned by Wallace, who could find no explanation for the sudden, unparalleled growth of brain evidenced by man.  Adler added to Darwin’s theory Lamarck’s: that the least fit often survive and become superior.  But in the combination one still cannot find the germ through which was born in an animal the feeling of guilt for killing an enemy, the idea of a supranatural diety, and the concept of life after death.

And thus the need of Homo sapiens for legends and the search for meaning: 

…the Adam legend says that man was sired by an energy or spirit proceeding from a non-animal being.  ImageAlthough man is born into the animal world, he is of this cast only in the sense that all in creation is of the supreme Creator… Humanity’s legends, man’s pristine and continuing concept of God, of deathlessness, and his conscience make of him a mystery that science has scarcely touched upon and psychology has served only to deepen.  Freud wrote, “The moment a man questions the meaning and value of life, he is sick, since objectively neither has any existence, “ but in truth the man who does not ask this primary question – or who does not admit that he asks – is sick, sick of evasion of the only reality he knows: himself in being.

How many among us in this day and age are sick?  Kyrie Eleison.  ImageUntil next time, peace…

The Gift of Paul

With the season of Christmas soon to be upon us, a time for reflecting on “gift” seems appropriate.  Amid the differences Harold distinguishes between the doctrines of Jesus and Paul, he rightly admits that the mighty mind of Paul was a vital factor for spreading the message of Jesus.  He tells us…

There is no evidence that Jesus knew it would be Saul of Tarsus who would do the tremendous job of carrying Christianity forward by compromising with Judaism, but He appears to have known that this had to happen to insure its immediate future and establish it firmly in the hands of men – and that a masterful, worldly mind would accomplish the task.  ImageThis is projected in the parable of the factor facing dismissal who is praised although he bribed his Lord’s debtors to provide security and welcome for himself in the houses of the people.  The Lord commends him: “…for the children of this world look further ahead, in dealing with their own generation, than the children of Light.”  In the parable, Jesus says in effect that he who compromises with the past in order to insure the future is, in his own generation, faithful with a large trust – for truth rests with man and all kinds of men are required to make it welcome and to carry it forward, even as they carry man’s heritage forward in themselves.  Or one might say that both the true and the false, the worldly and the unworldly, the steadfast and the compromiser serve life’s process through which man will be brought to full consciousness of himself as son of God.

And what is the ultimate ingredient needed for humans to fully recognize their “child of God-ness?” It is the gift that Paul presents us with.  It is his “bottom line,” so to speak.  Harold confesses:

In appraising Pauline doctrine, its most important contribution cannot be overlooked: love transcended his redemption dogma, clothing his Imagewords in shining armor, sending them unsurpassed through the centuries to lead and comfort men who should not today forget the struggle he had with his own generation to save Christianity from premature dismissal.  He transfused its feebleness with the stubborn strength of Judaism; he stands the towering figure in Christian history; his place in the Bible of man’s consciousness is not to be shaken.

 And it is love that is the greatest gift of all.  Until next time, peace.