Choosing Catastrophe

The thing about humans making choices is that we are so bad at it. We think we know everything, but we so don’t. Only God does. Only God has all the knowledge. He knows a whole lot that we don’t know and will probably never know. That is why almost as important as knowing what you know is knowing what you don’t know. That is, not actually knowing the facts of what you don’t know, but realizing that you don’t know these things. No human being has ever, ever had all the humanly knowable knowledge, much less the unknowable knowledge. As much as some may believe they can achieve such, we simply don’t have all of God’s complete knowledge and wisdom, and that has always put us at risk of making bad choices, choices that have so often led to our own catastrophes.

…almost as important as knowing what we know is knowing what we don’t know.

The very first catastrophe of mankind was chosen in the Garden of Eden by the first man and woman. As our representatives, they chose our catastrophe. This choice was to choose to disobey God, to give in to Satan’s temptation to sin. However, even if Adam and Eve had somehow managed to withstand Satan’s temptation to commit the original sin, someone else probably would have done so. We are all just as guilty as the first couple for we have all sinned and constantly come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). We are just as susceptible to the pride that leads to catastrophe.

Although we chose and choose catastrophe, we should not ignore Satan’s role in both original sin and every sin since Adam. He is the great tempter. We must always remember, Satan was created by God and has never been equal with him. The creation called Satan rebelled and so chose the life that led to his own catastrophe. Although many other things are prophesied to take place by Satan’s hand before the end, according to Revelation 20:10 his final destination is the Lake of Fire where he will endure an eternal, fiery catastrophe with his armies and with all those who have chosen not to follow after Christ.

Still, the fact that man has a free will means we can’t wholeheartedly blame Satan for what is bad in the world. Genesis 1:27 describes God’s creation of man. The second chapter revisits this particular act of creation, giving us some added details. Genesis 2:7 says that God “formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.” This in itself reveals that human creation is special. In the first chapter, God simply speaks stuff into being and that’s it. He did speak man into creation as well, but He also formed him from the matter of earth and breathed life into Him.

One of the potentially bad characteristics that seem to have been in this created man even before sin is self-absorption. Satan took advantage of this characteristic to help encourage human catastrophe. Self-absorption is one aspect we share with God. God is us-absorbed, but He is also very self-absorbed. However, His is a very holy and justified self-absorption. He rightly created everything for His glory. He rightly created us so that we might glorify Him. He rightly created us with a free will so that we might choose to glorify Him. And that in itself brings Him more glory. That is God’s style of self-absorption, but a very, very, very justified self-absorption. Our self-absorption can be justified. Not all human self-absorption is morally evil. If it were, I don’t think God would have created it in pre-sin man. Untamed self-absorption can be unjustified and evil and twisted. And unfortunately, this warped self-absorption is a fault we all share. It is this kind of self-absorption that will rage at accepting that there is knowledge–both knowable and unknowable–that you just don’t know and sometimes can’t know.

That brings us back to the first divine rule that we chose to break. We chose to disobey, creating our own disease. And to our harm and shame, we keep on feeding that disease. History is God’s story of curing us of the disease. His is a story of bringing us back from the brink of death, the brink of our chosen catastrophe. Ours is still a choice. Choose Him, choose His will, choose to turn catastrophe into blessing once again.

Ben Plunkett

Greetings from the booming metropolis that is Pleasant View, Tennessee. I am a man of constant spiritual highs and spiritual lows. I pray that I serve God at my highest even when I am lowest. Ben was a founding member of Rambling Ever On and a regular contributor and editor until his untimely death in April 2020. We wrote a tribute to him, but the best tribute you can give him would be to read all the wonderful poems, short stories, book reviews, theological essays, and ridiculous satire pieces he wrote for us. Pass them on to others and maybe allow Ben to inspire you to write something yourself.

2 thoughts on “Choosing Catastrophe

  • July 30, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    For me, being God-absorbed is very much a work in progress. I too often have a warped self-absorption. I too often only do what I want to do whether or not it is what I should do and don’t do what I should do and can do if I don’t feel like doing.

  • August 11, 2016 at 2:04 pm

    Donald Rumsfeld had the right idea about knowledge when he said, “As we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns—the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”


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