Why is the Western world getting worse; why is materialistic-Leftism triumphant; why are we being incrementally crushed by the imposition of totalitarian bureaucracy? What meaning can such experiences have for us, in terms of God's plan of creation?
My assumption is that God's motive for creation is love, and that a major aim is to enable people to choose to join with God in the 'project' of loving creation. So, the hope is that some people will choose to learn from their experiences to make the choice of Heaven.
Since Heaven is a place of love, only those who can love can dwell there - or indeed would want to dwell there. An analogy is a loving family; because that is the ultimate basis of Heaven - God's family. For those who love the loving family, it is the best possible situation - but for those incapable of love or who reject love, the family is an abhorrent situation: oppressive and boring.
Another assumption is that Men are free agents, and God does not know who has capacity for love or who will make the ultimate choice that love is primary. Therefore such matters can only be decided by experience. In other words, who wants and who does not want love is something that emerges as creation proceeds - creation is a situation of testing and development, during which each person's attitude to love becomes apparent.
More exactly, each person is brought to a point of decision, from which is determined whether he is a sheep - who chooses Heaven, or a goat - who rejects Heaven. Of course, such a decision can be and is often deferred, but the point of decision is at least when Heaven is chosen permanently.
It seems that resurrection into Heaven - made possible through Jesus Christ - is an eternal commitment, and the possibility that this commitment to love is eternal is a vital aspect of Heaven.
So there is a sense in which the ongoing processes of God's creation are a means to the end of self-sorting ('assortative partitioning') into sheep and goats: more exactly a means to self-sorting of sheep into Heaven eternally; and goats into some-other-destiny (not Heaven, maybe not eternal).
Let me provide an analogy based upon my thirty-something years of working in universities. The situation of universities became more evil over this time, mainly due to the progressive introduction of bureaucracy which was also the imposition of leftist-materialist (ultimately anti-Christian; thus anti Truth, Beauty and Virtue) ideology.
In this context of step-wise increase in evil, people reacted variously. Some people disagreed-with and reacted-against bureaucracy; other people saw its evil went along with it for selfish and short term reasons (e.g. careerism); others simply did not regard creeping totalitarianism (towards omni-surveillance and micro-control) as being bad or evil... They liked totalitarianism, materialism, the inversion of morality and truth... they wanted more of it.
People who perceived the evil and repented it correspond to the sheep. These are the people who comprehend and share God's values, and who want to dwell in a situation where such values prevail, which includes being a situation among others that have made an eternal commitment to God's values. Heaven is a place where Men participate with God in the work of loving creation.
The goats, in this analogy, are those who respond to experience of creeping totalitarianism with approval. They are either not capable of love or else have chosen to reject the primacy of love and put some other values in its place - for example leftist political values or the sexual revolution; and these values trend inevitably towards inversion of Christian-values.
Those who see the evil of bureaucracy but go along with it for the time being, for careerist reasons; correspond with those who are not yet sorted into sheep or goats. They have not yet decided. Their decision is being deferred.
What happened and continues to happen is that the situation continues to get worse; universities become more bureaucratic and totalitarian and evil. Their original-residual Christian values become more destroyed, subverted and inverted. And one consequence is that the unsorted are put under increasing pressure, as evil impinges upon them more and more obviously and potently.
Under this increasing evil - individuals will either repent and rebel; or else it will become revealed that they approve of bureaucratic totalitarianism: they will be self-assorted into sheep and goats.
Those sheep with loving natures will, sooner or later, come to the point of rejecting The System. Those goats who lack the capacity for love, or actively reject the primacy of love, will actively, consciously, choose to join with the strategic evil of The System... they will live to succeed in the ever-less-loving, ever-more-materialistic inverted-world of totalitarian bureaucracy.
The above example is, therefore, a microcosm of what is going-on in God's creation. It is also an explanation of why - in some times and places - it is valuable that 'things' get worse. The most-good sheep are able to learn from 'mild' experience that they want to choose love. They don't benefit from harshening (more evil) conditions.
But there are other sheep with more mixed motivations, less naturally good, who require the kind of increasing evil, increasing pressure, increasing clarity of creeping-totalitarianism - for them to awaken, repent and rebel - and choose Heaven.
This is, therefore, a possible explanation of the meaning why 'things are coming to a point' in the modern West.
Excellent post. It really gets to the fundamental essence of the matter at hand in a clearly defined and easy to follow way.
In one of recent posts, William Wildblood also raised the idea that we are at a real sheep and goats moment in the history of human evolution on this planet - a winnowing of souls, as it were. He suggested that the seeming failure of people to choose Heaven and Love might indicate this choice was never meant to be universal. Of course, the opportunity is universal, but any sort of universal reaction to the opportunity appears to be off the table. This isn't very optimistic, but it strikes me as true.
This is a very interesting idea! I'm not sure if I agree with it or not. In theory, "things coming to a point" should in theory mean that everyone who has even a little bit of goodness in them will eventually be forced to rebel, but I don't really see that happening very much. What I see is people gradually becoming accustomed to more and more evil, so that they don't even really see it anymore -- and for those who do notice it, rebelling against it is becoming more and more something that requires a sort of heroism, and the less-naturally-good sheep are not likely to be particularly heroic.
I've seen some very good, very seriously Christian people get slowly sucked into the world of bureaucracy and diversity and all the rest, like frogs in a pot being slowly brought to a boil. I keep thinking, each time Evil ups its game, this will make them jump out -- but it never does, or hasn't yet. I don't think these are people who are irredeemably evil or incapable of love or anything like that -- just "honorable men of the earth, who were blinded by the craftiness of men."
@Francis - Thanks. I don't really think this is about optimism or pessimism - not if we take seriously the idea of eternal differences between people; and that (fairly obviously) nobody can or should force Heaven upon anyone else - any more than grown-up people should be compelled against their will to remain in a loving family.
@Wm " I don't really see that happening very much. What I see is people gradually becoming accustomed to more and more evil, so that they don't even really see it anymore" - Indeed, but can you think of anything better? The alternative is maybe a one-off chance to choose - or a suddent overwhelming catastrophe - but I don't see that as more likely to lead to more repentance.
This way people are given the most time and opportunity to learn, to notice, to repent - to make their choice.
"some very good, very seriously Christian people get slowly sucked into the world of bureaucracy and diversity and all the rest, like frogs in a pot being slowly brought to a boil." Yes, I feel this happens because 'Ahrimanic' evil is not recognised as such, culturally. For example, dishonesty is just as much a sin as any other; but many Christians (especially those in management, law, medicine, and other upper middle class jobs) are dishonest for a living, whle denying the fact (which ought to be obvious to any normal child of 8). Or else they become habitual - and well paid - spite-and-resentment merchants (also systematically dishonest). Unsurprisingly, they soon stop being Christians, if they ever were.
It's more a matter of discriminating on the basis of a different class of sins, which are perhaps more prevalent than more high-profile 'Luciferic' sins such as theft, rape and murder.
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