Saturday, March 28, 2015

Michael Murray on heavenly silence


1 comment:

B. Prokop said...

Jesus Himself wrestled with this issue in the second temptation in the wilderness. Thus:

Then the devil took him to the Holy City, and set him on the pinnacle of the Temple, and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, 'He will give his angels charge of you,' and 'On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'" Jesus said to him, "Again it is written, 'You shall not tempt the Lord your God.'"

Now I've always held that for the temptations of Christ to have have meaning at all, they must have been actual temptations, and not just some sort of Kabuki theater, a shadow play of no significance.

So I asked myself, "What could possibly tempt God?" The answer (as I saw it) would have been the temptation to "take the easy way out" and walk back on the granting of Free Will to His creation. Thus the three temptations:

1. Turning stones into bread - i.e., remove all suffering and difficulty from the world. In effect, put Man back into Eden without dealing with the fall. Simply cancel the effect and negate the consequenses - pretend it never happened.

2. Leap off the Temple (and here is where we deal with "Heavenly Silence") - i.e., overwhelm Man's freedom with a Parsons-like theophany which is irresistible. Man has no choice but to believe in the face of blatantly obvious evidence.

3. The Kingdoms of the World - i.e., "Just Do It." Erase Man's Free Will and compel his obedience.

The catch, of course, is that each of these three courses of action requires negating the very reason for creating Man in God's own image. He becomes a meaningless robot with no more dignity or significance than a stone (which, as a part of God's creation, of course possesses considerable dignity and significance, just far less than a human being).

Jezu, ufam tobie!