Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Blind Spot

"When I applied my heart
to know wisdom...

I saw all the work of God,

Man cannot find out the work
that is done under the sun.

However much man may toil in seeking,
he will not find it out.

Even though a wise man claims to know,
he cannot find it out."

In All-New X-Men #3, Cyclops thinks he's on top. He has just broken out of jail and met up with his gang (Magik and Magneto). They are ready to start a "new mutant revolution." But, there's just one more member of the team they need to rescue from the government first, Emma Frost.

While Cyclops and Magneto break Emma out, something unexpected happens.

Scott's face explodes.

Well, his face doesn't literally explode. But, Scott finds out that he cannot control his mutant ability. It's a lot stronger than it has ever been before. And, it's harder to manage than when he first started Xavier's School. They assume it's from the effects of being possessed by the Phoenix Force in A v X.

This idea relates to our knowledge of God. The wisest philosophers and theologians all admit that they've only been able to dabble in what we know as Truth. Right when they realized that they were on top, the most enlightened, they saw that they knew nothing. Just as Cyclops reaches the full potential of his power (both with the Dark Phoenix and now with his original mutant ability), he realizes how blind it makes him. It is either too strong to realistically use or too hard to get a proper focus on.

Socrates was the wisest man in Athens only because he knew that he did not know everything (while everyone else was too arrogant to admit it).

Job's deep insight on the Lord forces him to ask, "Where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding?" He realizes that, "Man does not know its [wisdom's] worth, and it is not found in the land of the living... it cannot be bought for gold, and silver cannot be weighed as its price..." Later, God asks Job, "Where were you when I laid the foundation of the Earth? Tell me, if you have understanding." Job is humble and repentant in response, he realizes his own lack of understanding.

We have a human blind spot. We cannot know or understand everything. We are limited. And, just when we reach the pinnacle of our understanding we can begin to see how far we still have to climb. C.S. Lewis calls God the Great Iconoclast because once you get a good picture of Him, He shatters it so that you may have a newer and deeper understanding of Him than ever before.

So, if God is really this iconoclastic, how can we ever attempt to know Him? How can we hope to grasp his might and glory with eyes that cannot see?

"Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord... went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. And falling to the ground he heard the voice saying to him, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?' And he said, 'Who are you, Lord?' And he said, 'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.' The men who were traveling with him stood speechless... Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him to Damascus. For three days he was without sight...

[Ananias] laying his hands on him [Saul] he said, 'Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.' And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized...

Immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying 'He is the Son of God.'" Acts 9.

Do see the irony here? Saul was made blind so that he could see. He was at the top of his game. He knew everything. By being trained in the art of Judaic Law and having mastered his theological schooling, Saul had been sent out to rid the world of those who would dare insult his religion by claiming that his Christ had come. That's when it hit him. Like Cyclops' loss of control, Socrates' acknowledgement of ignorance, Job's humility and repentance, and our own revelation that we can't know it all, Saul had been struck. Literally, he was struck blind.

It is not until we realize that we too are blind that we find the need to call out. We know that we need help. The proud fall and the humble are lifted up.

Have your eyes opened? Saul's experience answers our question, "how can we ever attempt to know God? How can we hope to grasp his might and glory with eyes that cannot see?"

Although we continue to come up short, even our knowledge and wisdom reaches its limits, God in His infinite mercy sent His Son, to open our eyes. When we were shocked by the abomination of our ignorance, we became blind, and helpless. As Magneto said to Scott in the comic book above, we are "embarrassing" ourselves. We try to become selfish, depending on our own grounds for truth. "I am my foundation." Or, we lean too much on the teachings of this world. "This is my home." Or, we open our hearts freely to accept any dogma of religion without prayerfully thinking it through. "In church (little "C") I trust." When, in reality, we need to be led by the hand (as Saul was to Damascus). We need to regain our sight by believing and trusting in Christ alone (as Saul became Paul). We need to be able to truthfully say, "Christ is my foundation;" "Heaven is my home;" "I belong to the Church."

We need to finally admit that our eyes are broken so that we can honestly see.

And then, although we know nothing, although we deserve to know nothing, Christ removes the scales from our eyes. He points us to the Father through the Spirit. Through the Scripture, He (the Word) shares with us who He really is.

And, it is our calling to become as humble and as repentant as Job, praying:

“I know that you can do all things,
And that no purpose of yours can be thwarted...

Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me, which I did not know...

I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear,
but now my eye sees you;

therefore I despise myself,
and I am comforted in dust and ashes.”

God alone can reveal to us his unimaginable wonders.
He can show us the light, even in our blind spots.

"Call to me and I will answer you,
and will tell you great
and hidden things
that you have not known."

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