Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Endothermic God, Part 3--what about us?

Just one more note about our perpetual motion God.

He is endothermic because He allows us to give back to Him.  We praise him, we do good for him, "ascribing honor, glory, and power."  We cannot possibly increase his energy level, but we feed into him anyway.  God admits throughout the bible that His heart is gladdened by his people.  Somehow, we add happiness to him.

Yet that very accepting--the very endothermicness of taking from us--throbs with exothermic action.  As our frigid little bodies draw near to him, giving him the tiny lack of heat that we are, our actions of love warm our own hearts by nearness to him.  "God loves a cheerful giver"--in our giving, we receive love and blessing.  Even God's stooping, bending down to accept our love only comes down to another exothermic giving of himself to us.

And yet through all this giving, he keeps on growing in energy.  Some mystical way, we feed into him, and his blessing moves through us back to him.  "From him" comes blessing, through us, back "to him"--all things work this way.  He blesses himself through us, enriching himself, increasing in energy, and in some mystical way, we commune.  God's exothermic nature spills over into us and we heat the people around us, and they catch on fire and heat towards God, and that nearness heats them, and it becomes an ever growing river of fire, of energy...

And onward into eternity we go.

Hot, Hot, Endothermic Deity 2

(*In case you have forgotten--I have simplified the definitions of endothermic and exothermic here.)

A while ago, I claimed that God is exothermic.  "Oh, no," you say. "The Title said..."  Well, yes, it did.  It said endothermic, even though I wrote an exothermic blog post.  Why?

Well, is God endothermic?  An endothermic reaction ends with more energy than it began with.  It brings heat into itself, from its surroundings, and leaves a highly potent system.  Many synthesis reactions are endothermic.  It often takes energy to push things together.  Because endothermic reactions have to take on energy, we say they are "energetically unfavorable:" They usually don't happen all by themselves unless they cause some extra special increase in disorder.

God is not endothermic in that way.  He does not need outside intervention to make the magic happen.  The Bible calls him a consuming fire, highly reactive, highly heat-giving, highly "energetically favorable," new every morning.  An exotherm.

Yet God does not lose energy like an exotherm.  He draws into himself.  He consistently becomes more and more potent, never burning out, never running out of anything--not uniqueness, not energy, not perfection--but rather improving always.  Can he improve upon perfection?  In the Bible, yes, for God is "perfect in Holiness."  Perfect in "differentness." When he promises that we will become perfect, because He is perfect, he still promises that he will remain different than us.  He will be ever more perfect than we.  He will always increase in energy and creativity, coming up with new ways to bless us, new mercies.  Hebrews even says that Jesus, the already perfect man, was perfected through his death on the cross, though he had no defects before; he did not need to die on the cross to become somehow worthy.  Yet in both Revelation and Isaiah we see that this death makes Christ all the more worthy of praise--even though he was already infinitely worthy before!  Like an endothermic reaction, His internal energy and his bright glory always ends up higher than it began, and He is more powerful, beautiful, helpful, good, and world-changing each moment. 

So God is the only being consistently improving without sucking something from his environment.  He is a consuming fire--he continually consumes, increases, takes into himself--yet he needs nothing to keep his fire going.  He is the exotherm giving heat to his endothermic, increasing-in-energy self, the only perpetual motion machine.  "From him and to him are all things": from that exothermic superstore flows all our heat, all our energy, physical and spiritual, and to the endothermic improvement he grows.

A note for getting back on track

One special thing about the God of the Bible: he is a being of opposites, not via inconsistency, but via the limited nature of the human language.  Our adjectives—terrible, beautiful—and ideas—justice, mercy, love, holiness—are all too limiting.  When you get to know him, he no longer looks contradictory or fracture, like a mural of traits soldered together into a convoluted ceramic idol.  He looks like a person.

I don’t prefer the poetry of Walt Whitman, but this sentence he wrote, while utter crap, hints at what I am trying to say, not about small, twisted, limited humans trying to justify their inconsistencies, but about the Lord of Hosts, the God of Multitudes.  Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.”

So I do not, with these contrasting pictures from I draw from nature, want to say, “God is impossible to know with reason” or “God is distant and horribly, complicatedly full of oxymorons.” I am not a follower of Emmanuel Kant.

I am a follower of Jesus Christ.  He said, “You shall know the Truth.” You shall know!  We can know. And we can know Him, and through Him, the beautiful paradox of the Most High God.  “He who has seen me has seen the Father.”

And the Father inspired David to say, long ago, that “the firmament declares the glory of God.” The world, flawed as we have made it, still sings through all our white noise.  Our reason, science, pets, history, food—it all says something about Him.  It all says complex stuff.  For God stands at juxtapositions.

And—I want to find him there.  Guided by the HandBook that tells me what he looks like, I want to push through the jungle of reality and see the glimpse of his coattail that Moses saw.  Without the Handbook, how could I identify him?  But without the world around me—well, I would be missing out to have a beautifully illustrated bird guide on my shelf, and never use it to go out bird-watching.
That’s what we’re doing.  Bird-watching.  God-watching.  Because we are Juxtapositors, and our Master stands in the Paradox,  so that’s where we go.  Into the Juxtapositions!