God is Love. If God helps me, He hurts whom I hate: which He will not do. This is the old wineskin: that it cannot be filled with God’s Love, except it go and deal harm to another. Our Loves are backwards, simply; we love a thing for the good it does us, rather than in the good we do it. Or we Love because we first perceived ourselves being Loved: When we are perfect we will love God for who He is. Everything He has done has been an expression of His Love. When our Loves are set right, our wineskin is new.
The Word is the begotten of God, the principle of self-consistency: How can you love a thing until you let it be itself? The Word says indeed, “I like you just the way you are,” and encourages you to grow. We can be like the Word by helping one another grow, forever.
The best option God has, otherwise, is to make smaller bubble worlds that please their inhabitants, and never — under any circumstances — let the worlds have commerce with one another. A wolf could be put in a wolf’s paradise with mindless deer. Instead it lives here, where the deer is as real as it; this is no fault of the wolf’s. It seems that God must take the blame.
Now here is the import of the garden myth. Our world existed as a mathematical possibility. The garden is a bubble world of its own, where Adam and Eve, patterned on the naturally emerging humans of our world, are given everything good and interesting with no strings attached, but no evil — because evil requires the suffering of someone God loves. Adam and Eve choose to be allowed to sweat and suffer and die, to comprehend the pleasures that Good and Evil bring, and by their labor to bring a wider world into being.
Without evil, there is no justice, no mercy, no longsuffering. These are better than any sensual pleasures. But with evil there is a paradox: God will not sacrifice one of His children, not an insect from among them, for us to get our kicks. But for us to grow, His whole creation may lie in torment. It is fine for a child to squash a bug, so long as she learns not to. This entire cosmos would have been mere potential if they had not left the garden. And perhaps the garden is also a place in this cosmos, and perhaps it is not; what difference does that make to us?
Evolution cobbled us together out of the spiritual parts that were available. Love was turned backward: We loved for our own good. Lust was turned backward: We desired our own satisfaction. The higher animals have more turned backward for the purposes of survival: It may be that a fish does not experience existential dread, yet it is a dreamer same as us. Even microbes dream; they are metropoles of smaller things. Most cells go about their own business, and happen, as a byproduct, to do something that was needed outside. Life from its inception involved the death of things too beautiful to speak of. All things tend toward God: some get caught in loops along the way. And they live as it were in their own bubble worlds — which God can open up.
Dread is nothing until it is existential. When a bad feeling asserts itself to us as encompassing our entire reality, it gains a power over our soul, to wither and corrupt us. Growth dies back. But if these feelings were smaller, they would not corrupt us so. They become existential because we invest the thing they are attached to with existential import. Therefore we must not value even our lives with the urgency we call “life and death,” which is actually something else, and very much worse. It is the fear that our bubble will burst, and we will be born above, into a higher world where the things we have been harming turn out to be beloved instead.
“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all things to myself.” He said all things and meant all things; good and evil, clean and unclean, just and unjust. All things, in proper places, are rendered harmless, like a train on its tracks or a dragon in its fable. Yet the proper places are dynamic and changing, temporary but perfect and coordinated; and perhaps there are times for dragons to come out of their fables.
Jesus told his disciples to go with what they could carry. This is in fact how the world works. It is a sensorium of stories, and the stories always work out in the end, though that be a long way off. Each figure of the godhead expresses the same principle in a different light. The Father gives good and timely gifts; the Word expresses self-consistency, and therefore faith and rigor and love; the Spirit flows from one place to another, through all places (never leaving them) drawing all things towards the highest good at every scale. The LORD, when there is more than one way things can go, chooses the one that is best for each.
This world has been made on purpose. It is the neighborhood in which we meet everyone we love. We are not all one; we are as separate as unconnected worlds, except for this outer world we share. Here, we trespass and forgive. Our minds are more radically different than any of us could believe, playing host to radically different spirits. Yet language and shared experience draw us together. Existential evil is impossible, but it is always possible to be engulfed by a temporary evil, and against this we must be eternally watchful; only the spectre of doing evil should horrify us as death does now.
“He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still.” God loves us all, and indeed, every kind of activity in its place. These have been birth pangs: Things have been in places where they did not belong, which is suffering. Our present Loves are but a foretaste (though they will endure). What He is bringing forth we must be patient to see. It will unfold gradually, and forever.