Bringing Philippians to Life

Believe it or not, this actually is another real post you are getting notified about! Well, sort of. It’s not a science idea–it’s actually a school assignment that doesn’t really have all that much to do with theorizing. But since this blog is called The Christian Theorist, and most of you guys are writers anyway, I figured this would be appropriate. It is basically a very short short story, describing the events that might have happened around the time that Paul wrote Philippians. I hope you guys enjoy!

There was a knock at the door.

“Excuse me, Nona.” Paul shuffled to the door, his shackles clanking. Nona felt sorry for him. He was such a kind man; how could they keep him shackled like this? At least they let him rent a house, instead of keeping him in the jail. Still, the Roman guards at the door were a constant reminder of his lack of freedom. She couldn’t help but wonder what the Jews could have found so offensive about him that he would have to resort to appealing to Caesar.

“Justus! Epaphroditus! What’s wrong? What are you doing here?”

“We were on our way to bring you a gift from Philippi, and he fell ill.” Justus nodded to Epaphroditus, who was leaning heavily on his shoulder. “We figured Luke would probably be here, so we kept going, but he has gotten much worse. Is he here?”

“Yes, set him on the couch there. Luke! Come quickly!”

“What’s wrong? Oh!” Luke came rushing inside the back door of the small house, his brow furrowing at the site of Epaphroditus on the couch.

“What can we do?”

“Start some water heating, and bring me my tools.” Luke pressed his ear to Epaphroditus’ chest, while Nona hurried to heat some water. Paul knelt beside Luke and placed his hand on Epaphroditus’ forehead.

“Lord, bring our dear brother comfort.” He turned to Luke. “What is it?”

“Looks like pneumonia. He will be alright, but they should have stopped on the way for a doctor. Much longer, and their gift would have been used for a funeral. The Lord was watching over him. Thank you, Nona.” Luke dipped a cloth into the bowl of water Nona handed him, and placed in on Epaphroditus’ forehead. “He will be alright. Go talk with Justus.”

“Thank God for you, Luke. You are a true blessing to us. Justus, how long will you be here? I assume you need a place to stay?”

 

 

Paul sat down at his desk. His house was small, but he had made sure there was a separate room for prayer and writing. Luke spent a lot of his time here, compiling a history of their travels, but he was out entertaining their guests. Paul carefully laid out a sheet of papyrus, dipped his pen into the inkwell, and began to write. “This letter is from Paul.” He paused. Timothy probably wanted to send his regards, too. Poking his head out the door, he asked, “Where is Timothy?”

“He’s outside tending the garden,” Luke said. “Would you like me to call him in?”

“Please.”

Paul sat back down. “This letter is from Paul and Timothy, slaves to Christ Jesus. I am writing to all of God’s holy people in Philippi…”

“Yes?”

“Come in, Timothy. I am writing a thank you note to the Philippians, and I thought you would like to say something.”

Paul continued writing, Timothy leaning over his shoulder, making comments and suggestions. The smell of tar from the ink filled the air as Paul’s rough fingers traced over the papyrus. Occasionally Timothy would lean in closer with his hand on Paul’s shoulder, and Paul would wince. His years of missionary work had taken their toll on his body.

“…Epaphroditus was very distressed that you heard he was ill. And he certainly was ill; in fact, he almost died. But God had mery on him—and also on me, so that I would not have one sorrow after another.” The pen moved swiftly over the parchment. Paul was no stranger to writing—his years of training as a Pharisee had perfected his handwriting, so that even without a scribe, his letters were perfectly legible.

“…And all the rest of God’s people send you greetings, too, especially those in Caesar’s household. May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.”

“I bet they’ll love that comment,” Timothy put in. “I can hardly believe we converted the entire Praetorium.”

“The Holy Spirit converted them. We were just messengers.”

Advertisements

Getting Deep

I love stories. I spend as much of my time as possible immersed in a book, game, or movie, placing myself in a sort of “safe” reality. In books and movies, I know everything will work out in the end, and no damage will come to me physically. In games, I am in control of the story, and I can change the difficulty, giving me the power to overcome any obstacle. Also, the stakes are low: if I lose, I can just start over and learn from my mistakes—the game doesn’t matter.

So when, like me, you constantly dwell in these false realities (I personally prefer books, but games are more relevant to this discussion), it becomes very easy to let the entertainment mindset bleed over into the real world. I have found myself deciding, without even thinking, to take a break and come back after I’ve thought awhile—except you can’t take a break from life. Sometimes I get frustrated with something in my life, and my mind will tell me it doesn’t have to be that hard: just drop the difficulty and blow the obstacle to smithereens. I have even found myself getting so tired of aspects of life that I want to just give up, “lose,” and start over.

Except you can’t do any of these things with life. Time floats on, whether you want it to or not. You can’t pause the game of life. There are no checkpoints in life. There is no respawn in life. There is only one difficulty setting: hard. And if all of that wasn’t pressure enough, life actually matters. And you only get one shot.

But there is hope, because we are not playing to win. Our object is not the accumulation of wealth or our own personal happiness. No, our object is to do the Lord’s bidding. When you wreck your car and can’t afford a replacement, take heart: Jesus didn’t need a car to do His Father’s bidding. When your house catches fire and all your wealth and pride is devastated, take heart, for your life has not been in vain. When depression strikes, your happiness is destroyed, and you lose your hope for the world, take heart, for you are not here to be happy. You are not losing at life when you are unhappy. You are not losing at life when you can’t get a girl or see how you will fit in the world. Only give up your own desires and plans, obey your General, and you will find purpose, identity, and fulfillment.

Life is not a game.

Logical Proof of God’s Existence

I will start with the assumption that logic itself is valid, because as a human being I cannot do otherwise. There is technically no reason whatsoever to make this assumption, because if logic is invalid, then logic could be both valid and invalid with no contradiction whatsoever, because any contradiction would be solely a logical contradiction, and logic is invalid. To argue that logic “makes sense,” or that we see it happening all around us, and that it agrees with the outside world are all simply begging the question. These arguments use logic to prove that logic is valid, but if logic itself is on trial, logic cannot be entered into evidence. However, if logic is invalid, both sides of this argument fall apart, and I have no clue whatsoever of how to proceed with an argument if logic is invalid, so it must be assumed, if for no other purpose than for the sanity of the human race.

Thus, starting from logic alone, we know that either the universe exists or it does not. There is no third alternative. We perceive that the universe exists. If the universe exists, then either it has always existed or it has not. If the universe has always existed, either nothing has ever happened or every conceivable possible occurrence has already occurred an infinite number of times, and the mere thought of a “present” is mere nonsense, because there is no way to point to a specific point along an infinite line as viewed, theoretically, in its entirety. Infinity is infinity, and any finitude associated with it is simply nonsense. An infinite yet changeable being is thus a nonsensical construction (sorry Hindus). Thus, the universe must have had a beginning.

Now, so far, I have only proven that which is already commonly accepted, or at least given lip service to. However, the evolutionary hypothesis is that a tiny speck (presumably a singularity) once contained all mass in the universe, and it exploded into the universe. This returns us to the argument of finitude or infinity: either this singularity has existed for eternity or it has not. If it has, then the Big Bang has happened an infinite number of times (we can say for certain that it didn’t not happen, because the world exists), and the thought of “this particular occurrence,” and thus a “present,” and therefore time in general, is completely meaningless. If it hasn’t, then the logical law of causality states that something else must have caused it. If this singularity represents the entirety of the universe at this point (which it both does by hypothesis and must, due to the previous argument of finitude and infinitude, which I will not repeat yet again), then this cause must be outside of the universe. In this case, there is really no point in developing the idea of the Big Bang, because there must still be a “super-natural” cause of the universe.

So the universe is finite, with a beginning and end, and as such requires that something have created it. Now, I could stop there, and just leave it as yet another modified version of the law of causality, but all this has actually just been setup for the “real” thing I have been trying to get to: this whole argument applies to any object to which time can be applied. If a thing is temporal, it is either eternal and unchangeable (in which case it also could not affect anything outside of itself, because that would require it change–it would have to be a completely passive object, completely disconnected from the outside world, and it is strongly questionable that such a concept even makes sense to coexist with any other entity, unless every other entity with which it coexists is precisely such as it), or it is finite, in which case it had a cause. Thus, the fact that the universe exists today means that it had a first cause, and that first cause must, by necessity, be outside of time, or it itself would need a cause. Thus, the mere existence of the universe, or even my own existence as a being (apart from any sensory data, just the raw fact that cogito ergo sum) requires the existence of a being that exists outside of time, that created this universe. And any being that creates a self-contained universe will, automatically, have complete and total control and knowledge of everything that occurs within that universe (think of an author writing a book: nothing happens in a book without the author’s knowledge, consent, and active causing, and if the author stops writing the book, the universe in the books simply ceases to exist at the point at which the author stopped writing).

Conclusion: the universe is finite, God exists and created the universe, He is outside of time and the universe, and He is omnipotent and omniscient with regard to the universe.

I could go on to derive other characteristics of God, but I will stop there, because that is all that comes to me spontaneously, without me specifically trying to intuit other characteristics of the Author Being.