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.”).