In my leisure this spring break I have read “The Origin of Satan”. By Elaine Pagels. Along with my assigned reading for when we return to school. In reading the Gospel of Matthew there is a lot said about Satan. Also Matthew says we have a lot of freedom as Christians. Satan has already been beaten and the war is won. It is the evil in us that hold us back. Yet Matthew has Jesus call down divine wrath upon “this generation”(23:36), and Matthew does vilify his opponents. The scribes and Pharisees he calls “hypocrites and children of hell” very strong words in his time as well as ours. Matthew always puts forth a very Jewish Jesus. A Jewish Jesus that fulfills the Torah, by this he means the deeper meaning of the law. Matthew’s Jesus calls the coming of God’s judgment; the divine king will gather all the nations, some to enter into haven and the others will be thrown into the lake of fire prepared for the Devil and his angels. (25:34-46)
This week we will be dealing with the sacred stories of the last days of Christ life and the crucifixion. A lot of dark (en de nux, “is was night”) and it was a crisis (κρισις) or in some translations “judgment”. I think of evil, darkness as the same and the betrayal was in the garden at night. I wonder if my mind has slipped a cog, as I think of Eden. The betrayal was in the garden during the day or was it? Who knows I may be a heretic. I keep asking questions, “Whence comes evil”, “Why is evil permitted”? Tertullian a contemporary of Irenaeus (180 c.e.) has no time for those who asks to many questions. He even called some heretics who deviated from the majority consensus. Tertullian quotes Paul “all should speak and think the very same things”.
Wow I am a heretic according to that definition of heresy (ηαιρεσις) literally meaning choice. To Tertullian heretics actually pride themselves on the ways they differ from the majority, regarding these insights as proof of their deeper thinking or insight. Here is a small excerpt from Tertullian’s writings “Wherever they (heretic) have hit upon any novelty, they immediately call their presumption a “spiritual gift”, since they value not unity but diversity”. Even today those who see diversity as a form of division have trouble staying in unity with the Church. There is still a fear of unity as well as diversity in the modern church. Christ prayer that we all shall be one may someday come true. I just don’t see it happing in my lifetime.
Matthew tells us to knock and to seek (7:7) and all shall be revealed. So what will come of me if I keep asking all these questions will I stray from orthodoxy? Will I end up in the camp of the enemy? Or will I on Easter Morning see the light of the everlasting love shining forth in the risen Christ? The great empty tomb as God’s love for all of mankind. Well that is my hope. I look forward to Easter Morning as I do most sunrises with anticipation of color, light, and beauty. I look for Gold, Sliver, and light. So bring out your Gold and Sliver and God will provide the light and we shall all shout “Alleluia. Christ is risen. The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia”