Sunday, November 08, 2015

Pinnock: recalling the existential darkness

Sunday, November 8, 2015
    Feast of Saints & Martyrs of England
    Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan—The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.
    —Isaiah 9:1-2 (NIV)
    H. J. Blackham, formerly director of the British Humanist Association, posed the great problem to his own position as “the pointlessness of it all.” How can one escape from the “unyielding despair” of Bertrand Russell, the nihilism of Friedrich Nietzsche, and the absurdity of Jean-Paul Sartre if at the foundations of our existence there is nothing but blind chance. There is, indeed, a certain bleakness to humanism, for God has been removed and nothing comparable has yet been found to take his place.
    It is easy for believers to forget this, sustained as they are by such powerful symbols of hope: the love of the Father, the plan of salvation, the coming of the kingdom, and everlasting life. But they must not allow themselves to forget it for the sake of those who lack these supports and are searching for these foundations. Christians who have been converted early in their lives and never go through the experience of existential darkness before entering into the light of God’s coming kingdom have much to learn about these feelings of despair and doubt.
    ... Clark H. Pinnock (1937-2010), Reason Enough, Exeter: Paternoster, 1980, p. 24-25 (see the book)
    See also Isa. 9:1-2; Ps. 107:10-14; Isa. 42:6-7; 60:1-3; Matt. 4:15-16; Luke 2:30-32; 1 Pet. 3:15-16
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, You grant us the words to speak to those without hope.
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