Tomorrow’s Problem

One of my favorite sayings is “Life is Plan B.” After spending almost 50 years on this planet I can attest to its utter and complete accuracy. Actually, sometimes life is Plan C or even Plan D. I think you get the point. We make plans and then constantly adjust or totally scrap them depending on our present day circumstances.

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Jesus’ statement of taking no thought for the morrow may seem extreme but ultimately it seems to me maybe he was actually on to something, especially on a macro-level. Preston Harold expounds:

Planners for the morrow are ever bedeviled and bemused by the inertia of the masses who go on propagating and resist the change planned for their good. And planners for the morrow are befuddled by the creation of a new problem with the solving of an old one. Robert Heilbroner presents as “quintessential fact” that massive inertia which resists change is “responsible for more of ‘history’ than all the campaigns, the movements, the revolutions,” and he says that at the level of society which is visible only as personal and private encounters, the level at which life is lived, life remains much the same regardless of the new boundaries in which it is contained.

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Harold goes on to ruminate that Jesus seems to have seen that mankind comes finally to think of tomorrow in terms that rob today of its pleasure and numb the will to tackle future problems in the only way they can be alleviated: by solving those that confront mankind today…

Jesus says, “Take therefore no thought for the morrow,” but He does not teach that man should live in a witless, indolent manner. In practical terms, “looking ahead,” investing, sowing, tending, reaping, preparing for the arrival of the future, are today’s job as described in His very down-to-earth parables. These command man to the day’s tasks that he may meet the morning with joy, considering the lilies of the field, hearing the song of the sparrows that surround him now, even in his cities. It was toward the level of actual existence that Jesus addressed His words in the Sermon on the Mount – that is to say, He spoke of the ability of the system in which life is contained to support it satisfactorily whatever the tomorrow men envision as the “look ahead.” How can this be, in the face of the second law of thermodynamics? The legend of Jacob presents a clue.

We will look at the story of Jacob and his ladder in our next entry. Until then, peace.

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Gloria Patri

Robert Oppenheimer points out that “there are very weak forces which appear in radioactivity; we do not understand why some of these weak forces change properties that strong forces…do not change. To one such slow change…we owe most of the heat and light (from the sun) reaching the earth.” Loren Eisley considers another weak force that gave rise to a weak explosion: “In a sense it was the most terrible explosion in the world, because it forecast and contained all the rest. The coruscating heat of atomic fission, the red depths of the Hydrogen bomb – all were potentially contained in a little packet of gray matter that…quite suddenly appears to have begun to multiply itself in the thick-walled cranium of a ground-dwelling ape…Even the solar system has now felt the impact of that tiny, soundless explosion.”

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Preston Harold says in time this explosion produced a bundle of gray matter through which was expressed two thousand years ago the strength of mildness, of weak forces:

Jesus’ cosmogony, expressed in the beginning verses of the Gospel of St. John, presents as the creative impetus a force as “weak” as a word or one measure of light. Other words He spoke, and the opening words of Genesis, point to a beginning of the universe in one act that brought forth light, and to a “becoming” of the universe as it operates under the Law He described in terms of the working of the kingdom of God. In Jesus’ description of the working of the kingdom, the idea of the “expansion” and “shuffling” of energy up to a given time is encompassed. But because Jesus speaks of the “unquenchable fire” (in which matter is involved), His cosmogony does not project “heat-death” for the universe. Can these words that once struck terror to the heart be words of comfort now to men in a universe scientists say faces “heat-death” when entropy’s role is played? According to Jesus, the “flame” cannot be quenched and the warmth of life will ever be.

Jesus says as much in his most famous teaching session, fortifying us with the certainty that entropy does not have the last word.

In the Sermon on the Mount, pointing to the lilies of the field, Jesus gave His answer to the future; in this passage there occurs the word arrayed (its synonym arrangement is the word so intimately involved with entropy). He concludes:

Take no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient to the day is the evil therof.

If evil is pure matter, as this study postulates, then sufficient to the day is matter, the source of heat. This is true today and will be true every day, or always. Thus, Jesus says, in effect, take no thought for the morrow’s supply of fuel.

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Life’s fuel is never-ending.

World without end. Amen, amen.

Until the next installment, peace.