Sophomore

Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Psalm 34:8

Everyone can enjoy good oxymorons. They are immediately funny, an obvious disconnect, and yet the beautiful thing about them is how true they can be, how descriptive of reality. This pairing of opposites, combinations that logically seem impossible, is a tool to explain this universe of experience. An example that stands out above the rest, an oxymoron so seated in our culture that we rarely recognize it as anything but a grade or position, is the term sophomore.

Sophomore, is a conjunction of the Greek words for wise and foolish, and it is on this note that I remember many arguments I’ve found myself in. Like the feet of clay and iron in the book of Daniel, I’ve contradictorily been right and wrong, reasonable and unreasonable, wise and foolish, all at once. And on no topic is this tendency—I look back laughing and crying at how sophomoric my friends and I have been on this issue—of being both dull and sharp brought out in such clarity than in discussing God.

A majority of my friends have been atheists, and my own bulldog personality has, in this case, been a source of deep resentment. Like a sophomore, I’ve argued my friends down to the ground ‘til, uprooting our relationship, I’ve made myself unwelcome at times. Thankfully, most of my friends, perhaps all of them, were raised Christian, and though they espouse their materialistic mentality in words, they act upon the morality given them by a good upbringing. Mainly they have been forgiving.

Would that they realize almost every argument they bring against God comes only by a morality built upon Jesus. Do they understand that in making any moral case against God they use a systemization first realized in the Ten Commandments? They seem blind to the fact that everything they admire, and everything they use as reason, has its foundation in the thing they’re rejecting.

But at times I’ve been no better, for though I am right, in wanting to accomplish good, I’ve been wrong, hurting where hurt was unnecessary. True friendships are stronger than disagreements, and if I did not speak the truth I’d be no true friend. A flashlight is meant to illuminate the ground, removing the blindness of the dark, and often I see myself, when looking back, pointing the electric torch into my peer’s eyes, blinding them.

So, on the topic of God, I have been sophomoric, and that is how I wish to portray my main argument, a sophomoric attempt to express what I see. I came upon it by myself, had some task fitting it all together, and was pleased to discover that it existed already, giving me some hope that it is as true as I believe. It parallels an argument for God that I always found compelling, that of the first cause. This argument, I’ll state it briefly, is as follows:

  1. God is the uncaused that, directly or indirectly, causes everything else.
  2. All events in the natural world are caused. For example: Event C was caused by event B, event B was caused by event A, and so forth.
  3. The universe, as it exists in time, has a beginning and end (e.g. the Big Bang [i] and the Heat Death.) Therefore:
  4. The natural universe shows us that there was a first cause that could not have, by definition, been caused, and is the cause of everything else.
  5. Anything that is the ultimate cause of everything, and is itself uncaused, fits our definition of God.
  6. Conclusion: There is a God.

What the above argument does is it shows that most of us believe in a god of sorts, we’ve just gone backwards. It was progress to realize, “I Am that I Am,” is the name of God. It’s unproductive backtracking to dismiss the revelation. The argument I want to herein consider though, does something of the same thing, it gives a definition for God, to prove a point.

God is good, not in the sense that He merely acts good, but in the sense that goodness is from God. E.g. when something is good—not good as in, “this brick will make a good murder weapon,” but as in, “it was good that the murder was thwarted,”—that goodness is a temporary expression of an eternal goodness. To say it simply: God is the eternal good, or the plutonic good. Therefore, to assert goodness, asserts God. So, in the same way that saying a square is imperfect is to imply an ideal square, when someone says evil disproves God, the presupposition is contradictory to the conclusion.

But this whole thing, this philosophical debate in God, is moot, sophomoric. It is wisdom, but it is like arguing whether or not there is a sun in the sky. There is, and better than showing a thousand logical proofs of its existence, is simply telling someone to look up, and see.

I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.
C. S. Lewis

[i] I used the Big Bang Theory here to shorten the argument, but one can argue for the beginning of the universe without appealing to science, which is ever shifting in what it purports.

 

Listen to my beautiful voice:

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