We should maintain that if an interpretation of any word in any religion leads to disharmony and does not positively further the welfare of the many, then such an interpretation is to be regarded as wrong; that is, against the will of God, or as the working of Satan or Mara.

Buddhadasa Bikkhu, a Thai Buddhist Monk

Friday, July 19, 2013

God's Resilient Purpose

In his commentary, Genesis (John Knox, 1982), Walter Brueggemann observes that the "Joseph Narrative" (chapters 37-50) in Genesis and Jeremiah 18 reflect a similar perspective on God's plans for the Hebrew people.  He writes,  "In neither the Joseph narrative nor the Jeremiah passage is it an immutable plan which is always and everywhere the same.  Rather, we are dealing with Yahweh's intent for his people to which Yahweh may be faithful in a variety of ways.  No more than the narrator in our text does Jeremiah doubt that Yahweh has a resilient purpose for his people." (p. 376).

A universe where there is no God and a cosmos where God runs the whole show both seem to be unworkable propositions, as best we can tell from our senses, with our minds, and with our hearts.  They are both empty of purpose and meaning.  What makes most sense is something somewhere in the middle ground between No God and All God.  God must be Present but not in such a way as to impinge on human freedom—something like the process of evolution which runs by a set of rules, has direction, and encourages diversity and experimentation.  Freedom within boundaries.  Freedom within a resilient purpose!  Jesus of Nazareth is our ultimate experience as Christians with God's resilient purpose for humanity.  He was God's creative, resilient response to our continued intransigence as a race, and in the Spirit God continues to work with and around us toward the one goal of the Kingdom, which is God's ultimate resilient purpose.  Amen.