Monday, October 11, 2010


For some reason tonight I thought of struggles, and in particular, the idea of wrestling, of coming to grips with something.

"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places."

So says St Paul in the Epistle to the Ephesians. It is an interesting image, because in some ways, it leads one's eye away from that other great wrestling match of the Bible, the one found in the 32nd chapter of Genesis:

Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.”

But Jacob said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!”

So He said to him, “What is your name?”

He said, “Jacob.”

And the Man said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.”

Then Jacob asked, saying, “Tell me Your name, I pray.”

And He said, “Why is it that you ask about My name?” And He blessed him there. So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.”

It is possible to contend with God, it seems. And God seems to welcome it. Why else does He allow men like Abraham and Moses to argue with Him all the time? That makes hash of the Greek philosophical argument known as the Euthyphro dilemma for the simple reason that God is not bound to fit any human idea of good, and yet is good. It lowers the philosophical hazard to believe that, than to believe that there isn't a God at all.

I invite people to wrestle with that issue, if they can bring themselves to it. Perhaps they will end up joining hands (figuratively) with the Good Doctor, Thomas Aquinas. Or maybe the other Good Doctor, Isaac Asimov. Heh.

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