Wednesday 3 April 2024

People cannot be Made good

So much of religious discourse through the ages revolves arouf the expectation or hope that people can be made good - that some external influence, some deity, can take Men and make them good. 

And yet this is impossible - conceptually impossible. 


Men can only be made to behave in good ways by an external influence; Men in and of themselves, as Beings, cannot be made good. 

If Men are given their due, as genuinely individual free agents - and not merely apparently free Beings, who are only apprently separate; but really just pseudo-subdivisions of the universe, of deity... 

If Men are recognized as genuinely individual free agents, then it is impossible realistically to envisage any process by which Men may be made good. 


(And if there were, why has it not already happened? Why bother making Men as they are, if Men really could be made good? That has always been the fatal objection to those who claim that real Men can be made good by external influence.) 


Indeed, so far as I know, the only claim to be able to make people intrinsically good is that by Jesus Christ; which involves: 

1. the collaboration of an external deity with the full consent; and 

2. the will of the individual person - and involves 

3. the literal death of that individual, followed by 

4. his subsequent re-making - in the process of resurrection

To make Men good by resurrection is therefore a complex, multi-step process of un-making, before a two-sided re-making. 


Whether or not even resurrection is conceptually coherent and plausible is perhaps a matter for individuals to grapple with; but it seems clear that anything short of resurrection in terms of simplicity is prone to multiple and lethal conceptual objections - no matter how much such a positive transformation of Men (and of the world) is yearned-for. 

But thinking of the problem of "making good Men" in this way, does at least give some individuation of why Jesus promised eternal life - not now, nor soon - but only on the other side of death; and a heavenly life that is not of this world. 

1 comment:

A said...

I suppose you are quite right. Even the recorded Saints seemed to be self-described sinners, and while they certainly demonstrate improvement and progress is possible in this-world - resurrection is the fulfillment we need.

It also implies that all attempts at this-worldly perfection, or full spiritual enlightenment and transcendence, will necessarily be at a minimum incomplete or temporary - and tending towards outright deception.

That realization is rather freeing as the implication that we need or should try to perfect ourselves now is a rather overwhelming burden.