reload The Race by Maurice McCracken

Monday, October 15, 2007

Jonah vs Existentialism

posted by Little Mo | Permalink |
So - I've been reading The Universe Next Door

Shame on me for never reading it before!

And I've been learning about existentialism - 2 planes of existence, objective and subjective, and on the subjective level we create our own meaning. We create reality. Sire makes the interesting point that the assertions of existentialism read, to most people in our culture, like statements of fact that are so blatantly obvious that they don't even need saying.

Then this morning I was looking over some talks from Jonah to give at Leeds CU houseparty in a few weeks time. And I thought - the first couple of verses of Jonah are all about existentialism not being true.

Now, of course, one could speculate all day about why Jonah didn't want to go to Nineveh, I personally think, from chapter 4, that it was largely because he didn't want the Ninevites to get converted. But I think at least part of it must have been that Jonah wondered what on earth God was doing wanting the Assyrians to repent. What business was it of theirs what the God of Israel thought? Yet God says that their wickedness (this totally pagan people group who had their own "reality") comes up as a stench before him.

You see God is the God of the whole world. Reality. We can't imagine him out of existence. What's more, he thinks something, feels something about the behaviour of people, even people who have created a reality wherein he doesn't feature. God doesn't buy our existentialism: he is the ultimate reality, no matter what existence I try to create without him.

It's when we buy into the existentialist assumptions of our culture, rather than making God's being and feeling about our sin the real reality , that's when we do a Jonah.


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