Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Craft (as in handcraft) (02/08/07)
- TITLE: The Beauty of God's Craft is Contradiction
By TJ Nickel
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I am but an amateur, a commoner, in an earnest attempt to become a self-contradiction, a “wise yet simple” artist, in taking up the torch he held two centuries ago. In Christianity, we find a craft so delicately woven it stands before us everywhere and nowhere. In this piece I’m afforded little time to show you how I craft, and will only accomplish such a feat of wisdom by the contradiction of the simple, showing it everywhere, yet nowhere.
God created. God loves. God hates sin, yet loves the sinner.
There the blind man stood made able to see, but before his sight was restored they asked the man of Righteousness, “who sinned, this man or his parents?” he replied, “Neither …but that the works of God should be made manifest in him” (John 9:2-3, ASV) What work of glory is this, to be blinded? The simple man sees no sin, but also no glory. The wise man sees only his own glory through a contradiction, and places sin on the simple man. About sin, the simple man was right. About glory, the wise man was right in its existence, but attributed it so horrifically that it was surely better to be the simple man.
Lazarus died, and the Righteous man among them let it be although he loved him, for it was better for them that he was not there in the last two days of that illness. Better for the two sisters and the twelve, that he let Lazarus die, for they would learn a much greater thing than death – its Contradiction. (John 11) What kind of craft is this, to allow one loved to die? What kind of craft does this God form in his Hands, and what is this glory found through death? The wise man finds the fault in passive will, and the fault in glory through unnecessary means. The simple man (rather women here) sees death before him and anticipates the miracle. The simple man has no knowledge, only faith; the wise no faith, but knowledge.
God’s craft is found in “this love that surpasses knowledge” (Ephesians 3:19, NIV).
This craft, this article, and its content is reflective of that genius who “was not a Christian, but knew what a Christian was”. I met another of his students who had studied him to become wise. His ‘subjective truth’ ran wild and his hedonism found no bind. We talked for a time before I told him he’d understood this Kierkegaard fantastically. He missed the contradiction, and ironically walked off wiser still. For the wise man had gained such systematic knowledge that he’d removed his person from the world, leaving God no means to love him.
This God above weaves a delicate craft so contradictory it can’t be found. After all the climbing of the wise man, should he reach the top of his ladder he must still surpass, and to surpass he must do so via one gigantic but tiny thing, leaping. After all the climbing by his own two legs, to leap is a contradiction. Better he had been a simple man and leapt before he climbed.
Better we cut out our tongues, better we lop off our hands, and better we gouge out our eyes, so that we might be the blind man without sight not caused by sin, for that is the means of God’s great craft. Two trees stand in the middle of the garden, one life the other knowledge. The Beginning and our End, always a contradiction, with no means of atonement within knowledge. For, we must be simple to be found, for we are found in the leap, and must be found to be loved, for our person must still be in the system, and we must be loved to be made to see or rise again.
These are the means in which God’s Hand crafts; always deeply within contradiction, within the leap, within the paradox, the positive third factor relating the synthesis. He is found in recollection, relating forgetfulness to memory. He is found in the present, relating future to past. He is I AM, relating The End to The Beginning. And in the beginning, he crafted a contradiction within two trees and related them to us with a commandment.
God is at Hand in the continuous weaving of this world. He weaves so tightly we cannot see the threads, for threads are too simple a thing, and we’ve become too wise.
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