I’ve had this idea about the nature of meaning and this “Spooky” experiment in quantum physics. So if you care to see my crazy here goes.

Meaning is something that exists in the mind as our simultaneous understanding of the relationship of parts and whole. In interpretation, this is known as the hermeneutic circle. The whole defines the meaning of the parts even as the meaning of the parts define the meaning of the whole. But this interdependence leads to a serious problem. We don’t live in a simultaneous universe in which all things are now singularly known. We exist in a universe where time/knowledge is divided up, as it unfolds bit by bit, the past known the present becoming known and the future not yet being known. And without the knowledge of the future whole, the meaning of the bit doesn’t exist concretely. It exists to us as a cloud of potential meanings which only collapses in our minds to a singular meaning when we arrive at the whole.

This seems to me similar to the double slit experiment in quantum physics. In the experiment (see the video), we know that observer/observation collapses the potentiality which exists in reality. The tiniest pieces which make up reality act as an undefinable wave until we watch it. When its watched it changes the outcome of what has previously been seen. It’s as if it knows it’s being watched. Crazy! And this is a repeatable scientific experiment which is testing the world outside ourselves. But somehow the mind is objectively causing this objective reality to define what it is.

Is there just an analogous relationship between the collapse of potential meanings in our moving through time and the collapse of the quantum realms wave function when it’s observed or is more significant than that? Our observation of time is certainly collapsing the potentials of meanings and events In our minds. Perhaps the future exists right now as a wave, needing our observation to collapse it into something meaningful. That thought might be interesting if applied to our debates about free will and determinism. It could be that the future exists right now but somehow needs us to see it to make it what it will be. Bottom line, it would appear there is no “objective” reality apart from our subjectivity. That our subjectivity is working with the “objective” world to define what it is. Or perhaps I’m just crazy.

That very well could be

Why should you think Revelation is as much about the past as it is about the future? Because Revelation isn’t always about the future. Smack dab in the middle of the book we have a symbolic depiction of Jesus’ birth and resurrection. Revelation 12

“1 A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. 2 She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. 3 Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads. 4 Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that it might devour her child the moment he was born. 5 She gave birth to a son, a male child, who “will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.” And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. 6 The woman fled into the wilderness to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days.”

No one disputes that this is about Jesus’ birth and resurrection. And for John, the author of Revelation, this was a past event. And yet John doesn’t skip a beat in describing something past right in the middle of his book. So if it happens here, shouldn’t we ask if it happens elsewhere? I think it’s pretty clear that it does. In Revelation 4-5, John describes a vision of the throne of God and a scroll that God holds in his hand. A search is made of heaven and earth for someone worthy to open the scroll. Chapter 5:

Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. 2 And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” 3 But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. 4 I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. 5 Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.” 6 Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7 He went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne.

At first no one was found worthy to open the scroll and John weeps for the state of humanity. But then something changes. Jesus, the lion and lamb, is found worthy because of his triumph. And he takes the scroll in his hand. For John, when does this scene happen? It’s clearly in the past. It’s no longer the case that no one is worthy to take the scroll. Jesus has triumphed. So when does/did Jesus take scroll and begin to break its seals? The answer is as soon as he triumphed. He began breaking the seals in the first century and has continued to breaking them to this day.

6 times, John describes the same time period which is from Jesus to the end of time. And yet each time he uses different metaphors to do it. And each time, he begins and ends his description in worship

The most quoted passage in the Bible by the Bible is Exodus 34:6-7. It’s about God’s character. The God that revealed himself to Moses said that He is, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, and abounding in loyal love and faithfulness, keeping loyal love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin. But he by no means leaves the guilty unpunished, responding to the transgression of fathers by dealing with children and children’s children, to the third and fourth generation.”

At its most basic, God simply says that He’s merciful and just. But there’s more to it in the original Hebrew. There’s no noun connected with the “third and the fourth”. “Generation” is simply assumed for the translation. And without that noun “the third and fourth” is compared and contrasted to the “thousands” mentioned earlier in the verse. God’s scales aren’t balanced. He isn’t simply merciful and just. And He isn’t more just than he is merciful. His mercy has practically broken the scales.

I’m thinking about this because a good friend asked me about heaven and hell yesterday. His brother’s recently died without putting his faith in Jesus. And my friend wanted to know if there’s still hope. While I don’t believe there’s a second chance, the Bible’s pretty clear about that, I do believe that my friend can and should hope for his brother. The God that has revealed himself in the Bible is good and weighted towards mercy. And the one that has personally revealed Himself to us has been extremely merciful. And I think we should believe that whatever God does he will prove himself good and merciful in the end. And that’s where I put all my hope.

One of the more puzzling things about the Passion of the Christ is its use of language. Have you ever wondered why Mel Gibson had English speaking actors speak in two dead languages? I suppose one could chalk it up to a fascination with the Latin Mass or a desire to simply be authentic but there’s also something more significant. In language, Gibson has democratized access to his film. No group watched it from a more privileged position. All were equal in having to read subtitles and listen to a foreign tongue. And in that, Gibson has said the same of the Cross of Jesus: All humanity stands equal before it.

Babette’s Feast

September 21, 2019 — Leave a comment

I love this movie! It isn’t for everyone. It’s a Danish film with subtitles. But for those of us who grew up with a Christian ascetic/holiness environment, this film is a beautiful and moving corrective. We tend to deny ourselves the fruits of God’s grace thinking that this will somehow please God more. And yet even in our stubborn refusal to receive all that he has given, He still keeps giving more and More.