Thursday, February 25, 2010

Trampolines: A lesson in spiritual physics

What kid doesn't like a trampoline? More than a few adults I know, including myself, enjoy them too! I love trampolines because a few brief milliseconds, I get to escape gravity and experience the freedom that comes with being unencumbered by it.

The problem is, No one is free to experience weightlessness by their own power. What goes up must come down!

Because of this, I think that gravity is perhaps the best spiritual analogy we have to what the scriptures describe as "the law of sin and death" (Romans 8). Just as gravity effects every single human being born into the world, so this law effects all human beings. Every single human being is born into a world tarnished by sin and the consequences of Adam's sin. God told Adam that living outside of God's purpose and plans for him would result in death and it did! The proof is that he died. The proof that you and I are effected is that we too die! Since then, humans have been on a quest to prevent or delay these consequences for as long as possible.

As I thought about this, I started to see how all our religious ideas are nothing more than jumping on trampolines. We're foolish enough to think that with a little assistance and increased spring under our steps, we can jump better and escape the spiritual "gravity" of sin and death. Further, we go on to compare ourselves with others even though we share the same limitations. We get enamored by our religious "tricks", "flips", and the heights to which we can soar. No matter how good we are on the trampoline, we all experience the same end to our efforts as we fall back to earth.

Like gravity, sin and death cannot be overcome by strength and will power. This is the fundamental problem with every religious/spiritual idea that places self or another at the center of the effort or solution. It's a fool's errand.

In the natural world, there's really only one way to escape the effects of Law of Gravity for sustained periods - the Law of Aerodynamics. We experience this law when we climb into an aircraft and allow it's power and design to lift us from terra firma.

Aerodynamics allows people to function in a universe where gravity exists without being controlled by it. Aerodynamic does not nullify gravity - they coexist!

Many are quick to claim that God isn't real because he would do something about all pain and suffering if He did exist. This is like cursing gravity while refusing to acknowledge aircraft as a suitable means of overcoming it. Pain and suffering are the result of sin and death - spiritual gravity! Spiritual Gravity is overcome by Spiritual Aerodynamics - Jesus Christ.

Without nullifying His own first edict that disobedience would result in sin and death, God has addressed pain, suffering, sin and death by providing a way to overcome it without escaping it. Just like the Messiah himself suffered for his people, we too are granted the privilege of suffering along with others - pointing them to the way of overcoming.

Had God renegged on His edict to Adam, he would be unjust. When our legal system lets people off the hook for their crimes, we revolt. Yet, we demand that God do just that. God will indeed deal with pain and suffering entirely at the consummation of all things. Until then, He has provided a vehicle for us to rise above the spiritual effects of sin and death.

The core of Jesus' teaching are to stop jumping on the trampolines of religious effort and enter Jesus Christ - God's single vehicle of salvation. Jesus had hard things to say to the professional trampoliners! Many accept this for their justification, but then return to the trampoline to live out their relationship with God. This too is wrong.

Jesus conquered sin and death. His resurrection proves that. When we place our faith in Christ and his ability to overcome sin and death on our behalf, our existence is no longer bound and determined by sin and death. He says we're "in him" and so we are no longer bound by them either.

If you're a jumper, become a flyer. If you're a flyer, rescue a jumper from their tiresome efforts.

Feedback and dialogue is appreciated.