Thursday, December 15, 2005

All-American Marxist Heaven

In a previous post I rather abruptly made this analogy and left it hanging. I should have elaborated, but that post was long enough already (or so I used to think) and I was tired.

I had alluded to how the notion that we're all equal in Christ resonated so well with the American principle that all men are created equal. Everyone gets essentially the same opportunity to start (well, philosophically), to make of it what they want according to their own desires and talents. As far as it goes here, it works for me, but it gets worse. Where things end, in my aforementioned friends' eyes, is the ultimate Marxist paradise, except that there is no more labor. Oh, and also, there's a God. Equality of outcome reaches its apotheosis in this heaven, where we're all tiny, unimportant people beholding the great Authority. Actually, I need to rephrase it. Next to God, we are tiny and unimportant, but the way my friends tell it to me, well, we're just still snow-covered piles of crap.

Maybe I'm getting my Protestants mixed up. When we go to heaven, we put on the righteousness of Christ like a robe to cover our crappiness so we look good enough for heaven, despite still being crap. However, while we're here, we're saved, born again or baptized, and no longer guilty of sin, except for spontaneously generating it all the time because of our fallen nature. Am I crossing mutually incompatible schools of thought?

Suffice it to say I prefer to believe that we will be de facto perfected in the next world, if we are only de jure perfected in this one, than to believe heaven's going to be filled with a bunch of jerks like me who just seem to be good because we can only see God in them, or at least God can only see Himself in them, and maybe we won't be able to see anyone else at all. I'm not sure on that point. In fact, with this interpretation, I'm not sure I even see the point. God's complete and self-sufficient; before we came along, He contemplated Himself. Now, we're here to share in Him, not just observe His greatness. Even if it takes some kind of conditioning on my part to appreciate or tolerate or to be allowed to witness His greatness, if that conditioning doesn't accomplish any more than obscuring the spiritual wounds we did to ourselves while we were alive (oh, they say the Cross is supersufficient, even infinite in grace, but any transformation this side of the grass may well be invisible, and any transformation on the other side is by definition insubstantial), such that all we get is to sit in our eternal cubicles to look up and join God but not each other in telling him how great He is; then it seems a lot less loving than to totally repair our depravity so that we may actually share in His love to our greatest extent. God is not diminished when a soul recognizes how well another reflects God, in addition to admiring God's reflection in them. My wife is not diminished by me loving her or by her loving me, or by exulting that our children (I hope and pray) have been raised well, above and beyond merely praising my wife for having raised them well; if our love is healthy, we can love each other without confounding our priorities about children or a home or what have you; and if all I'm able to do is write her fan mail, even if I get to deliver it in person, it's a whole lot less than being married to her.

It puzzles me. To hear them talk, it's like taking this assumption of equality to pathological levels is the perfect marriage of let-no-man-boast theology and good old American equality, but when we get to heaven, it's all Marx's workers' paradise without any work, a bunch of identical souls all worshiping the Authority. What's going on here?

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