Friday, June 08, 2007

You Want A Peace of Me?

There is a lot of Evil in the world. We see it all round and we see it in ourselves. Since there is Evil and must be a God (or nothing would exist), we have two choices about who He is.

Either God’s omnipotence is irresistably necessary to the existence of all phenomena, evil included.
or
God’s potency (whether omni or just poly) functions monarchically and relationally with an Other and is, because of the presence of such Other wills, phenomenally resistible (if only temporarily), hence evil.

So you have, in the most subjective of wordings, an omnipotent demon or a thwartable benevolence.
I am less interested (in this post) in the selection between the two positions with reference to the arguments, subjective or otherwise. I was thinking about something else today. I consider that the chief end of man in a futile world is the pursuit of peace. I was wondering which kind of peace was offered by each.

It would seem that he who realized he worshiped an omnipotent demon (aside from the knowledge that his knowledge regarding this omnipotent demon was suspect, since that thought was itself the result of some irresistible external power) would realize that the best, nay only, rational response is impotent resignation (which of course you could only feel if the demon decided it was in his best interests to so design). The Stoics (whom I admire) took this tact. You weren’t gonna dodge the bullets that Fate shot at you, so step into them like a man. If peace is the emotional condition of being in order, the impotence of man steps into a peace by letting, without cavil, the god to do his whatever and agree with it. Order (crafting pattern) could not be divined (no pun intended) if any nonacceptance of event is kept. All that is, is the expression of the omnipotent will, all that is, is His pattern. We see Evil and Chaos because His will is unreachable by the human participant. But our chief end is not Peace conceptually gained in the heavens by some other agent, we want Peace felt in ourselves because we feel things, dang it. In the pantheism of the exhaustive omnipotence, the only felt peace for the man is in fatalistic acceptance. The order/pattern is found by matching one's own will with the obvious Over-Will known by what happens.

I know some folks who have found that degree of peace. Sometimes it is academically peace-giving (if God’s greater glory is impugned in an argument that theorizes a spouse running off with the neighbor) or circumstantially peace-giving (should your spouse actually do it). “Who can make straight what God has made crooked” but you can at least align your opinions with His.

The peace potential of the Polypotent (potent in many ways) or the Omnipotent (if He created an Other) is different. Since it is a relational power of the God, (potential thwarting is necessary for Other to exist), His benevolence is possible to acknowledge discreetly since all that happens is not necessarily His doing. Since He can be averred to be good and one who desires peace for me, (acknowledging a commonly understood good that we both desire), his great power is an aid and a lordship to mine own potency. I can have a potent hope in crafting a peace unintended by the Nature of things or the evil will of others. If God’s power can be thwarted (in the phenomenal moment), most certainly, so can all other powers.

This is certainly incomplete. It was a morning coffee thing which ended up on scratch paper. Correct away! Spare not my feelings! I think that "polypotent" may be a new word.

If you comment, discuss what I have missed in the pursuit of Peace aspect of each theory, not which theory is true about God.

postscript,
As C.S. Lewis said, “The doctrine of Total Depravity — when the consequence is drawn that, since we are totally depraved, our idea of good is worth simply nothing — may thus turn Christianity into a form of devil-worship.”
and “I am going to submit that not even Omnipotence could create a society of free souls without at the same time creating a relatively independent and “inexorable” Nature.”

5 comments:

John Barry said...

"Polypotent"? I would prefer "magnipotent".

John Barry said...

Evan, I consider the chief end of man to be to love God supremely, and one's neighbor as oneself in either a futile or utile world.

Is peace the emotional condition of being in order, or the willed condition of not being anxious (or something else)?

Jeff Moss said...

Most of the Biblical usage of "peace" is based on the Hebrew idea of "shalĂ´m." This is a condition that is defined positively, not negatively: completeness, soundness, well-being, mutual trust, security, friendship, tranquillity, etc., are all involved in the meaning of the word. Also, it is more an external and social condition than an internal and emotional one, although the first leads to the second.

The Oracle said...

John,
Magnipotent is good.
To your second point:
I ask myself what is the chief end of God in the creation. He made a world in which by design or redemption, man might be brought to a certain place and that, for man's benefit, not God's own. Loving God supremely it the ultimate exercise of this pursuit but the desire that fuels the pursuit is the desire for peace. Peace is the emotional reaction to things in order. The kind and quality of the order is the kind and quality of the peace. If a soul finds his God and submits himself to the broad ordering graces, that man's peace is the highest man can know, that which passes understanding.
Jeff,
Good words. Thanks for the help. I think I was pointing to the removal of chaos as that is the state of futility we are in that needs redemption but I do agree very much with positive descriptions. It is not an absence but a presence. The Christian peace does seem to be not first a societal or external order working its way in but a internal one working out. Hence our Lord's admonition to not be "whitewashed". We cleanse the disorder of our souls and peace reigns even when the "sufferings of this present time" or anxieties seem to warrant it. Thanks for the good comment.

Jeff Moss said...

"and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." -Philippians 4:7

How about this? The spread of peace is from God, to believers, to those around them. Peace is first of all "the peace of God."