Wednesday, April 25, 2012

It's A Good Life

There's this old Twilight Zone episode called "It's A Good Life." It's about a farm town ruled by an omnipotent little boy who can change reality just by thinking about it.
People live and die depending upon what mood he's in. Every second of every day, all these poor, scared people can do if they want to survive is tell him what a good boy he is.
They live on eggshells. They can't even whisper to each other how afraid they are because they're terrified he'll hear them.
That's their world. Every morning, they wake up wondering if this is the day they do something to anger God.
- Irredeemable #18
by Make Waid and Peter Krause

We serve a good and just God, right? That's what we're told, anyway. God is kind and loving. But he can also be extremely wrathful. To avoid this wrath, we must adhere to the very high, even unrealistic, standards that he demands.

Of course, we've been walking on eggshells since the beginning because we really suck at obeying God. Even when all he gives is a simple order of, "Hey you guys, don't eat the fruit of this one tree, okay?" Yeah, we eat the fruit, and then we worry about the consequences.
They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, "Where are you?" He said, "I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself." - Genesis 3:8-10 [NRSV]
The relationship set up between humanity and the Divine in the Old Testament is pretty straightforward. If I obey God, he'll bless me. If I disobey, he'll punish me.
If you will only obey the Lord your God, by diligently observing all his commandments that I am commanding you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth; all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the Lord your God - Deuteronomy 28:1-2 [NRSV]
But if you will not obey the Lord your God by diligently observing all his commandments and decrees, which I am commanding you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and and overtake you - Deuteronomy 28:15 [NRSV]
So, basically, we're screwed. At least I am. I don't know about you, but I really suck at obeying God's commandments and decrees. Really, in the grand scheme of things, I should be walking on eggshells constantly. I should be perpetually fearful like those citizens in that Twilight Zone episode. But for some inexplicable reason, God goes to great pains to offer me forgiveness and redemption. Seriously, sometimes that just really boggles my mind.

And sometimes it takes a random reference in a comic book to make me reflect on that.

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