Today’s Chocolate: Green & Black’s 85% Cacao Dark Chocolate
Today’s Passage: Luke 11
Here we go again. I’d hoped to get Luke 11 covered for Sunday and call it the last of last week’s five posts, but that scenario clearly didn’t happen. So we’re gonna start fresh this week, kick it off with Luke 11’s prayers, parables, exorcisms, and criticisms, and shoot for a post every weekday as has been our custom. We’re invoking Blog Forgiveness and moving forward.
Early in the chapter, Jesus tells a pair of parables about God’s goodness. Using the examples of a man who grudgingly answers the door at midnight to give his friend some bread and a dad who gives his son a fish and an egg for lunch instead of a snake and a scorpion, Jesus illustrates that even the worst of us flawed humans are predisposed to care for our children and our most persistent friends. The parables lead us to infer that God, being perfect, will also take care of our needs and respond generously to our prayer requests. Which is not to say that he will give us scorpions for lunch if we ask enough. I mean, he might, but that’s beside the point of the parables.
No: the point is that God hears us and cares for us far better than we hear and care for each other. And if Jesus were willing to entertain our quasi-absurdist notion of a scorpion-lunch-request-granting God the Father, I expect he’d point out that even in that absurd scenario, God would only give us scorpions in situations where scorpions are a good thing. After all, as Paul puts it elsewhere, “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God” (Romans 8:28).
But to return to Luke, Jesus puts the point this way: “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” (13). More philosophical elaborations on the idea come to mind, and it’s not inconceivable to me that the arguments themselves were inspired by Jesus’ words. You may be familiar with St. Anselm’s ontological argument for God’s existence, which contends that a perfect being must necessarily exist as a consequence of its perfection. Or perhaps you can recall those passages in Descartes’ Meditations and Discourse on Method in which he appears to infer the existence of a perfect, all-knowing God based on his own intellectual fallibility. One might raise objections to such arguments or question their efficacy in convincing anyone but the faithful. But where skeptics see flaws in the universe and impute those flaws to its hypothetical Creator, these thinkers see human flaws and infer the existence of a perfect standard of which we fall short, a standard only realized by God himself. Or, as Switchfoot puts it: “the shadow proves the sunshine.”
And of course much more happens in this chapter. Sadly, we’ve given both it and tangentially-related philosophy short shrift here. But time marches on, and so must we. See you guys in Luke 12.