Nihilism IV

Can man experience God without one's emotions?

The ascetic is mistaken in his asceticism in that he believes he must willfully invite calamity and hardship, and even create the conditions that might bring about his own self-deprivation, scorning as only the ascetic can the grace of God which may want to challenge him with decadence which is a far more trying condition for the soul to manage than anything that might be brought about by constant and unremitting pain and displeasure.

Decadence, through its corrosive and contaminating effects upon the soul, is a more difficult spiritual obstacle than mental deprivation and physical torment.

Now, this is not to say that self-denial is not without benefit, for it is indeed, especially in times of decadence when self-denial falls too precipitously out of fashion with both believer and non-believer alike.

Do not reject or kick against – as far as one is able – the grace of God sufficient for one’s own time, for in kicking it away does one also kick away God’s will for you and the testing of your faith which, in our day with all its luxuries and indulgences and their attendant soul-destroying, pervasive subtly, is far more grueling than it might have been in time’s past when one’s faith was immediately met with resistance and animosity on every side by neighbor, employer, benefactor, state, circumstance, evil, fate, and even family according to the flesh.

Anyone who might deny the truth of what I am saying with the retort, “well, your life might be blessed, but mine…” deceives themselves. For ours is indeed the far end of all that is good and right and blessed in material terms than the world has ever known or probably ever will. Even our poor and homeless tend to choose such poverty and homelessness and have at their disposal ample avenues of assistance if indeed they choose to avail themselves of it.

Can man experience God without one’s emotions?

For the nihilist, coming unto a saving faith in God is, perhaps tragically, only “half the battle” and indeed that place in which the true battle of the soul begins. For what awaits a man when the revelation sets in that life, in the clarity of reason, has no meaning even in light of the reality of Christ, but nihilism atop nihilism and hopelessness beyond hopelessness; hopelessness and nihilism that a man will be forced to deal with or not, to the salvation of his soul or not.

To speak of one’s suffering while in the throes of its grip in a way that is true and honest to the difficulty of its trial is impossible and to do so an exercise in self-deprecating triviality; and yet, to speak of it afterward is to inescapably minimize the glorious luminosity of the struggle and to dimunate the grandiosity of the insights attained, or not.

The embrace of Christianity and the gospel of Christ is in no way an existential retreat into anachronistic barbarism or an intellectual surrender to some inferior need of the soul for certainty that only “faith in God can provide”. In truth, not only for nihilists but for all men living in modernity, the way of Christ is the only authentic way forward unto the difficulty of Truth. For all other ways will nowadays only end in nihilism and, if not that, then self-delusion, deceit, or ironic frivolity.

Above all else, man wants to understand his brother, with the hopes that he might equate his own experience with “the other” and find some consensual commonality by which one might have compassion for the struggles of his brother, and glory with him in his brother’s triumphs. Without understanding, empathication is impossible, as is the establishment of the emotional bond between the two, save for the intervening grace of God.

Nihilism, in its most advanced state, eventually keeps a man from thinking any coherent thought at all. Such is its intent, if, indeed, it can even have one in the first place.

More than anything does man need to be saved from God.

For was not the greatest accomplishment of the cross of Christ that He satisfied the righteous wrath of God that had been accumulating since the time of the flood; satisfaction which, if it did not come when it did, “in the fullness of time” {Gal 4:4}, would have unleashed such wrath upon a sinful and unsuspecting world as to wipe it away as He had during the days of Noah, yet this time without one so favored as Noah to bring us through it.

“Thank you, Jesus, for satisfying the righteous anger of God, which was at one time preordained for me, a reprobate sinner. For, ‘it was the will of the LORD to crush Him; He has put Him to grief; when His soul makes an offering for guilt, He shall see His offspring; He shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.'” {Isa 53:10}

In Christ and only in Christ is one able to say, “thank You, Lord, for your wrath and holy anger” for without it would man not know “how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” {Eph 3:18}

For love and wrath are mutually dependent and would not be but for the other.

To claim that God, as God, is not also within all things and around all things and all things in Him and because of Him {Acts 17:28} and that some things exist independent His will or came as a surprise – even a happy surprise – to Him is the apogee of human ignorance.

Freedom of will is an illusion.

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.” {Rom 8:18-21}