Author of Grace

The following is an email I wrote to a friend. I have copied and pasted his original email to me into the comments below.

I have stumbled upon an email you wrote back in 2019. I recall the correspondence we had then (and long before) about the Law of Nature and of Nature’s God. Indeed, as you have well said, the greatest exposition of this law is in the history of ancient Israel as recounted in the Old Testament. There is an intrinsic conflict between the two laws because of man’s lack of understanding and predisposition toward sin. Man tries to overcome this conflict through the mental gymnastics in Gnosticism, Utopianism, and/or Atheism. He develops his grand “worldview” or “ideology” and then sets out to build his Tower of Babel through sheer will. The intricate supports needed to keep that high tower to heaven from tipping precariously, and in time falling back to the earth, are unwieldy, labor intensive, and expensive. It takes such a strong hand to maintain those supports that the Gnostic, Utopian, and/or Atheist scheme invariably necessitates tyranny to be maintained. 

Among men, perfection is the enemy of the good. How often have I observed or read about a man’s tragic or comic fall because he would not be satisfied with simply being “better.” This is true of civilizations, and when civilizations dedicated to building their own unique towers to heaven fall back to the earth the “lost cause” nostalgia for those past civilizations becomes a kind of romanticized memory of that great historical stride for perfection. In this sense, nostalgia is the mirror image of futurism. In nostalgia we see a great struggle for the perfected society. In futurism we see a mobile urbanity and a dynamic technology grabbing mankind by the collar and hoisting him into a perfection denied his ancestors. Both are the dreams of the narcissist staring at his pretty image in the rippled water: the ripples flowing downstream his nostalgic vision, and the ripples flowing upstream his futurist vision. The center of that vision is himself, of course, but since his image is radiated by the divine light behind him he imagines in his own reflection his self-divinity. He should know better. God has made it clear that the light man sees in himself is reflected from Him. For man, this light is derivative, and it is a gift. Too often we misunderstand the books of the Old Testament as an exposition alone on the Law, while the New Testament is an exposition on Grace. In fact, the Old Testament focus on Man’s Judgment under the Law is a study of Grace, for in essence Man’s Judgment under the Law arises from his willful failure to differentiate the gift of Grace from his own Will. Stated another way, Grace when experienced by a man lost in and perverted by his own self-divinity illusion cannot but be Judgment. The impossibility for men of living up to the Law is the chief revelation of Grace. Man’s abject failures going back to his banishment from Eden and his attempt to build with his own hands a tower to heaven is a testament to his comic tragic obstinance, yes, but it is also a testament to the fact that the only author of Grace is God. God’s Judgment is His Mercy, because He alone is the author of the Law by which we men are condemned and the Grace by which we men are redeemed. The one does not offset or nullify the other. They are both one and the same. The punishing God of the Old Testament is the forgiving God of the New Testament. This divine mystery reminds us that God alone squares the circle. The best we can do on our own is to fudge it. We can strive, but no matter the will we exert in the effort we shall remain always just a little off from perfection (meaning herein the total and absolute identification of Law and Grace or of Judgment and Mercy). Because we do not want to admit from the start that perfection by our own efforts is unobtainable, we separate out Law from Grace, or Judgment from Mercy, and express this separation as Gnosticism, Utopianism, and/or Atheism. Since in God Law and Grace, and Judgment and Mercy, are not just compatible but totally and absolutely the same, the New Testament must be read as an expression of the Old Testament. Indeed, there are not two Testaments, but one, as Christ Jesus makes clear in Matthew 5:18 (“For verily I say unto you, till Heaven and Earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”). 

Published by Michael Sean Erickson

I write, act, and produce films in Los Angeles. Everything else is conjecture.

One thought on “Author of Grace

  1. Here is the email from my friend which inspired my response above: Thanks for your reply. I very much enjoyed your reminiscences of the “shack” in Santa Rosa. There were many honorifics that were incinerated two years ago by the Tubbs Fire branch that destroyed our home and nearly took our lives. One of the bits of memorabilia that was lost were the keys to the shack which I kept within observing distance in my home office. Why did I keep them? Well, they reminded me that it took a decade or nearly so to get the hell out of that pit of pestilence and puffery, from which I was led to conclude that Reason and Virtue are, indeed, rare commodities in this world, but Mindlessness and Vice are doled out in huge measures.

    For those who are too easily impressed by Satan, they focus not on that doughty Angel, but on the human misery he brings to individuals and to nations, indeed to the earth and its people. Satan himself is actually pretty stupid. I always think of the Book of Job and how easily our Lord manipulates him to take on the task of bringing Job low by depriving him of every single element of his life which he has used as a foundation for his delusions about his status in (first) his social life and second in his pretenses to be “a perfect man.”

    How accomplished Satan must have felt when he contemplated the deaths he arranged and the properties and possessions he destroyed. “That will teach ‘the Heavenly Father,’ he must have crowed! How “had” he must have been on the news that Job had been promoted from his stature as a “perfect man” to achieve the the status of “a better man.” To top it off, there is nothing in Scripture reporting that the Lord God of Creation had apologized for any disappointment the Dark Angel must have felt when his work of devilment was shown to be not only an easily reversed set of brutal consequences, but Job was happier than ever before in his life for having undergone God’s lesson in humility and his deepened appreciation of the ultimate meaninglessness of earthly possessions and earthly honors.

    I vaguely remember that the Book of Job was one of your favorites in Scripture. I have to agree that it is a highlight of the OT text. The other Book(s) that pull my chain and tickle my fancy are Samuel 1 and 2. I take those texts as the most profound statement of man’s law and its puny stature in the face of God’s projections on earthly kings as usurpers and thieves., and their laws as the cookbook for tyranny and thievery. Samuel rules through “the Laws of Nature and the Laws of Nature’s God.” The founders of the United States as a “new” polity as one with the capacity to establish man’s Law, as indicated in the Second Paragraph of the Declaration of American Independence, but by their citing of the two branches of Divine Law built apply to man’s Law both limits and rationales, namely, to be a body of law under the aegis of God’s Laws as a guide for civil Law, but more importantly, a barrier against any miscreant authority to design the civic law to serve evil ends. How we have permitted so many evil pathways in our civil law is the key measure for our corruption of the Founder’s intent. it’s all there. From thousands of years ago. The most concise and articulate presentation of the law that Lincoln dedicated his life to advancing. He understood, as well as the best of the Founders that what he called a “stumbling block” is a guarantor of a built-in barrier against tyranny and dictatorial thievery.

    Gnostics and Worshippers of Satan (are they the same?), otherwise known (oddly) as Liberals, but are actually the acolytes of Satan, and may be called, Demons.


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