Tuesday, 22 May 2012
By JN Hong
Life is chaos.
We began in chaos. If we were to subscribe to evolutionary theory, we were a few atoms forced together by chance from a million others emanating from a cosmic bang producing hydrogen atoms. From the combinations forming from the random contact of atoms, compounds happened. These compounds multiplied, and continuously bumping around, mistakes happened, and mostly, we reached a dead end and most compounds decayed away. But some flaws worked in our favour and we changed somewhat to slightly different structures and the better compounds overtook and dominated over the older versions of the compounds. From the diversity of compounds became life. Life started off as simple, then complex life forms. Life is merely bumping into each other, and making more offspring, and moving further and further along the evolutionary cycle.
If we were to subscribe to creationism, we were conceived as very good beings from the dust of the earth. Yet, we are fundamentally tainted by the chaos, that is, power and the ability to sin against one another and against a Holy God. Through the fruit eaten in the Garden of Eden we have been forced to live a life without the direct providential care of God, and we are returned to working the earth for little fruit. It is the chaos we find, when we find our relationships strained because we have rejected the life of God for much less.
We are highly flawed beings, whatever theory we subscribe to.
We are essentially the products of generations of confusion, unaware of how and why we do the things which we do. And, somewhere along the way, we encountered “life”. At some point in time, we transferred from being conscious dead to alive. Who can map out the time? Who had a watch to tell when we began breathing not only air into our lungs, but our souls started comprehending the beauty of the world around us?
There was a mnemonic in high school about defining life. MRS GREN is a arbitrary way that we have devised to define living and non-living organisms, that is to say, that humans are the masters of knowledge of whether you are alive or not. We are alive because we move, respirate, sensitive, grow, reproduce, excrete, nutrition–we are promoted to the status of “living”, and we can legally begin to self-consciously understand the world as what it is.
But what does it mean to be alive?
Which mutation was it that changed our world? Which frame of consciousness was it, that our worldview might radically change through the bite of the fruit. Did the thought of Adam and Eve disconnect us, or the bite of the fruit? At one point we were blissfully unaware in our existence, and the next we were jarringly aware of ourselves imposing on the world. I feel perhaps, we draw this line of “alive-ness” with too much definition. A line that is perhaps too hard to define, and defining the line defeats the purpose of having it. Why isn’t life, just life, and as we progress to become more complex and we become more aware of how alive we are.
Our walk into complexity is marked with a greater consciousness of our own imperfections and seeking the atonement for the chaos we find in ourselves. I see the Christian conversion experience as the moving from one world into another, and beginning the journey of understanding our complexity and obscurity of our existence in the context of a infinitely complex God who provides the cure to our chaos. Sin marks the human experience, and I feel the only antidote to this continuing mutation on the soul is Jesus. The rewriting of compounds constructs a bridge to peace, but falls under its own weight.
In Christ on the cross, we find the reconciliation of our past sins, and a symbol of our chaos, and the direction of our eternal journey.