Pray Brethren

Pray Brethren

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Creation and Non-Violence

My recent post on doubts concerning the historicity of Adam (and the Devil) as a potential means to deny the reality of evil should also help us understand why some theologians look to God’s creative act as justification for non-violence. In this view, monotheism stands above the pagan creation myths in which the gods fight a war and in the process create the cosmos. The non-violent God of Christianity, however, simply makes a harmonious universe from nothing and calls it good.

While it is certainly true that God created an ordered universe ex nihilo, what if the pagan myths contained a grain a truth, a kernel of knowledge lost to man during the true Dark Age following the Fall of Adam? What if a cosmic war really did precede the creation of the material universe? After all, why do we live in a seemingly indifferent universe filled with death, killer gamma rays, and asteroids capable of mass extinction?

The universe is not a safe place and the earth is certainly not our Mother.

J.R.R. Tolkien’s Silmarillion opens with a mythic creation account of his fantasy world Middle Earth. In it God created the angels first and then had them sing together in their harmonious hierarchy – but the greatest of the angels, Melkor, inserted his own themes into the music and eventually led a revolt against God. Nevertheless, God revealed that He created Middle Earth through the music sung by the angels and that the discord sown by Melkor’s disruptive music was the cause of certain evils and imperfections in the world.

This creation account in the Silmarillion is pure fiction, but Tolkien drew heavily from his Catholic faith, and the thought of God working through secondary actors is part and parcel of the Christian economy of salvation. Whether or not God included the angels in his creative act, we do know that St. Michael the Archangel led a victorious battle against the Devil and his demons and cast them out of heaven (see Revelation 12:7-9) and that Jesus has proclaimed the Devil “the ruler of this world” (John 12:31).

It is altogether in the realm of possibility that the Big Bang, which created our universe, was the result of the expulsion of Satan and his minions from Heaven. Lucifer claimed a heavenly dominion and the result was instead a dominion over this world. Man was made to unseat him from even this dominion, avenge God’s honor, and restore justice. In other words, God created man for war against evil, and while the Devil struck us first, the mission of Jesus Christ was to save us from sin in order to restore us for battle.

So much for non-violence.

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