Friday, August 15, 2014

Thoughts on TV and Theology

I enjoy watching movies and I really like to pull out the Biblical truths that I see in them.  I already took a look at "Dobby" from "Harry Potter" and I related a scene from "Lord of the Rings" to my son, David's, death in "Departure".   I do this kind of thing constantly and it probably drives my family nuts.

For a guy that didn't even have a TV until he was 26, I've been watching far too many TV shows via Netflix DVD and Amazon.  Having finished Breaking Bad, I've been watching Sherlock, Longmire, Justified, and Grimm.  So far, "Monroe" from Grimm is my favorite character.

He has some great and brilliantly executed lines like this one, where Nick is thinking about telling Juliette about his "ability" and Monroe says:

"No, no, no....The vast majority of humans just can't process that kind of information.  They can believe in all kinds of stuff.  You know, gods, for example... angels and demons and the Big Bang Theory and E = MC squared, man.  But that's only because it's not right in front of them.  They're not looking directly into the boiling core of the raw universe.  So, you know, confronted with that kind of reality, a lot of brains just turn to mush. "  

This reminded me immediately of one of my favorite Bible passages, the powerful:

Isa 6:3-5 NKJV  And one cried to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!"  (4)  And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.  (5)  So I said: "Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The LORD of hosts."
Isaiah's word "undone" is the powerful word here.  The Hebrew word behind the English translation is "damah" which means "to be dumb or silent; hence to fail or perish; transitively to destroy: - cease, be cut down (off), destroy, be brought to silence, be undone, X utterly." (Strong, H1820).  Isaiah is so overcome with awe in the presence of the LORD of hosts that he acknowledges he is about to become literally unraveled, unglued, and apart.  Obviously, he doesn't quite, because he's still talking, but he sees that train a'coming, and fast.

I think it's easy to talk about God and our ideas about him and such, but coming face to face with him- being "confronted with that kind of reality"- will be a different story.  In my reading of atheists and nonbelievers, my thought is nearly always "your 'god' is too small".  In other words, I don't think they have wrestled with the possibility of the sheer immensity of Almighty God .  The words "omniscient" and "Almighty" are just not taken seriously.

In my preaching and teaching I am constantly trying to get people to "drill down" and chase conclusions to their logical end in the hopes that they'll start to get a small glimpse of the possibilities of Isaiah's God.   That's all I ask for- consider the possibilities.  For instance, if this God is truly the creator of everything in the universe, as Genesis 1:1, Isaiah 40, Jeremiah 10,, half the Psalms, the end of Job, and Rev 10:6- just to name a few high points- claim, then that means that he's responsible for molecules, atoms, quarks, strings, and their actions and reactions; genetics and all their behavior, including the incredibly complex and still barely understood DNA; all the astronomical events, from the "Big Bang" to black holes to dark matter to God only knows what  we have yet to discover.  These things all fall under the realm of "science" which is (at least, "should be", but is seemingly less and less) testable, repeatable, observable, and quantifiable.

If the Bible is right, God is also responsible for the mysterious soul of man, the existence or absence of such being a point over which philosophers have argued since the dawn of philosophy and which scientists (except for those who deny the soul and thus identify with monistic philosophers) have yet to quantify.  Again, all I ask is that one consider the possibility of an Almighty God and consider the ramifications of this possibility.

Having carefully considered the issue, if you decide that Almighty God is not a viable possibility, then what is your alternative?  Randomness and directionless chaos?  Do you see these as a viable mechanism for the creation of our soul, life, world, universe, and cosmos?  If we take the concept of evolution ("goo to you via random genetic changes") but push farther back and deeper than "the first single celled organism", do you think that random changes and chances could have feasibly produced all of the conditions necessary for the combustion of that single-celled organism in the first place?  I mean, all the proteins, chemicals, links, pathways, and mechanisms plop in place in a vast universe, all undirected and unguided?   Or maybe your world has multiple gods, some with the power to create, that push and pull against each other with no clear "Almighty".  Maybe your world is built on karma and energy (which again, without a designer, seems like it would have to arise spontaneously and develop without direction)?  Me, I'm sticking with Almighty God because the possibility of such seems the strongest when all other possibilities are considered.  Not to mention that we've got this great collection of writings to study....

Given all this, you can see why I like Monroe's statement- "But that's only because it's not right in front of them.  They're not looking directly into the boiling core of the raw universe.  So, you know, confronted with that kind of reality, a lot of brains just turn to mush."   It's safe discussing these things from behind a keyboard, but confronted with the reality of Almighty God , I'm sure I will be right there with Isaiah;  "Woe is me!  For I am undone!"  Or Job:

Job 42:1-6 NKJV  Then Job answered the LORD and said:  (2)  "I know that You can do everything, And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.  (3)  You asked, 'Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?' Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.  (4)  Listen, please, and let me speak; You said, 'I will question you, and you shall answer Me.'  (5)  "I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You.  (6)  Therefore I abhor myself, And repent in dust and ashes."
Or Paul:
1Co 1:18-21 NKJV  For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  (19)  For it is written: "I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE, AND BRING TO NOTHING THE UNDERSTANDING OF THE PRUDENT."  (20)  Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?  (21)  For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.
Or David:
Pro 9:10 NKJV  "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
Other fun observations:  

1) Raylan Givens vs Boyd Crowder in "Justified".  The questionable morals of the lawman vs the reformed morals of the lawbreaker.  I'm only up to Season 2, so I'm sure this is going to be changing but for now, it's interesting.  I'm rooting for Boyd and praying for Raylan.

2) Walt and Hank talk about what's legal and what's not and illustrate perfectly the shifting sands of a self-moral society.  This was one of my favorite scenes.  Well, this one and the one where Jesse and Jane hold hands while watching a blank TV- that was sweet.  

3) "Longmire", so far has been mostly familiar scenery (filmed as it is, near Las Vegas NM) with fewer moral wrestlings.  I think Henry's character is the most interesting one.