A Sentence Uttered by The Word of God Shattered the Illusion that Hid the Sweetness of Paradise from Us
God endowed us with the gift of rationality (Genesis 1:26). The truth is the fuel for the engine of rationality. Our rationality, when exposed to the truth, steers us in the right direction. The destination to which our rationality steers us is paradise. Why? Paradise is sweet. Rational people seek the sweetness of paradise. It is contrary to our self-interest to do otherwise.
The serpent, however, conjured up an illusion that hid the sweetness of paradise from us (Godlessness). The illusion gummed up the engine of rationality. It caused the engine of rationality to sputter and fail. As we moved farther and farther away in both space and time from the life Adam and Eve had in Eden, the weaker our memory of the sweetness of paradise became until it finally dissolved completely away into ignorance. By neutralizing the sweetness of paradise, the illusion suppressed its power to pull rational people out of godlessness and to the entrance of paradise. The illusion marooned us in godlessness. Godlessness sucks but we didn't know any better. We did not know that we could escape from it.
To rescue us from godlessness , therefore, the illusion first must be shattered. The sledgehammer of truth must shatter it as the blow of a hammer shatters glass.
To shatter the illusion, the sweetness of paradise revealed itself. It made itself manifest. The veil of the temple was rent in twain from top to bottom and the sweetness of paradise stepped out from behind it (Matthew 27:51). With the illusion shattered, the sweetness of paradise became visible to us. Like iron to magnet, the power of the sweetness of paradise to pull us to the entrance of paradise was now felt. Its sweet fingers tug on our soul and the curious follow the tug to its source. God does not play 'fair" with our salvation. He rigs "the game" in our favor. The weight of the sweetness of paradise bends the "playing field" so that it tilts downward from godlessness to paradise. The gravity of salvation, thus, creates a current that carries all, but those swimming against it, back home to paradise with God and his holy family. Shattering the illusion makes us curious about the sweetness of paradise.
How exactly did he shatter the illusion?
The mouth of the word of God is his bloody wounds. They spoke to us. A sentence was uttered. The sentence consisted of just two words. Yet, with its utterance, the illusion conjured up by the serpent that hid the sweetness of paradise from us was shattered. With the shattering of the illusion, the truth became visible to us. We beheld the sweetness of paradise. Rational people seek the sweetness of paradise. It is contrary to our self-interest to do otherwise.
One of the words of the sentence is reserved for the story that unfolded on the near side of the bloody wounds. The other word of the sentence is reserved for the story that unfolded on the far side of the bloody wounds. Unless you understand both words, it is impossible for you to understand Christianity.
When we look at the near side of his bloody wounds, we only see the evil we did to him and his ignominious defeat. Unlike the mighty God of the Jews who freed his people from the Egyptians, this puny God of the Christians who suffers and dies on a Cross fails to free his people from the Romans. The Romans crushed him in the most horrible way imaginable. We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. Through his wounds, buckets of blood spilled from his body. His very life itself was carried out of his body on this cataract of blood. The God who fashioned us out of the mud with his hands put himself into the hands of the mud. Instead of welcoming him, the mud tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. Deicide. Ungrateful is the mud. This is the first word of the vocabulary of the bloody wounds. There is another.
A different story unfolded on the far side of the bloody wounds. As we pierced his body with bloody wounds, the bloody wounds pierced the veil between heaven and earth to open a portal between the two worlds. Only when we look through the bloody wounds as though they were a telescope to their far side do we catch a glimpse of heaven from here on earth. On the far side of his bloody wounds, the story that unfolded is the story of his goodness and his glorious victory. Through the telescope of his bloody wounds, we see into his most sacred heart. We see that not a drop - not a drop - of his love for us spilled through his bloody wounds. He refused to let the sharp edge of our evil poke a hole in his most sacred heart and drain it of his love for us. His most sacred heart stayed filled to the brim with love for us. He clung to his love for us, held tight, and refused to let go. This is the second word of the vocabulary of the bloody wounds
Our evil drew blood but did not draw love. We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. Yet, he emerged from the dead still alive and still in love with us. That he emerged from the dead still alive is the proof that Jesus is God. Nothing emerges from the black hole of death. He did. That he emerged from the dead still in love with us, however, is the proof of so much more than "mere" divinity. This added detail reveals to us that our simple conception of divinity as omnipotence is not quite accurate. Divinity has another aspect besides omnipotence. That love survived the evil we did to him is the proof that divinity is love.
The bloody wounds speak to us. Listen to what they have to say (Matthew 11:15). The bloody wounds speak to us using a sentence of only two words. We all can understand two words. The intransigence of his love for us in the face of our wickedness reveals to us unambiguously the strength of his love for us (Romans 5:7-9). Wow! Who is this strange and wonderful God who continues to love the mud nonetheless even though the mud tortured and killed him?
God tied together our wickedness and his love for us in the Crucifixion as tightly as beans and cornbread (Click Here) are tied together. He turned our wickedness into an amplifier. Our wickedness amplifies his love for us. Our wickedness is a witness to the strength of God's love for us - it testifies to its strength. Leave out the amplifier and you cannot understand Christianity. Leave out the love and you cannot understand Christianity. An understanding of both words of the vocabulary of the bloody wounds is necessary to understand Christianity in its fullness.