GNB 2.14

January 16, 2023

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE REFERENCE:

“Whoever is not with Me is against Me. Whoever does not gather with Me scatters. So, I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven. However, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.” (Matthew 12.30-31)

TODAY’S REFLECTION:

What is blasphemy? As I began yesterday’s reflection, to define it as “defiant irreverence” would be an understatement. Blasphemy is not simply irreverence or disrespect of an ultimate truth. If we were to travel down that vein of thinking we would mine an “or else” instead of some truly treasured ore. We might come up with something akin to “fool’s gold” rather than the golden thread which binds us to eternal life. It would not be difficult to embrace the ultimate truth that God is love. Sometimes that “tough love” of God or His, what appears to us as an apathetic response, slow to answer concern for the human condition might be seen as evidence that God does not love us at all. Such thinking would lead us to even deny the existence of God. We must temper our thinking with a certain pragmatism about that thought instead of a self-centering perspective of our need for God to pamper us. What would be the opposite of pampering and doting? It would be discipling and nurturing the formation of strong character and powerful actors to stand against the enemy whose “soul” desire is to render us as weak and incapable. We dare not live the “false front” identity which is the image of Satan. We are called to live as we were created: imago Dei, the image of God. That image has been best presented to us as human beings in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, born of Mary. He lived in obedience to God’s love and for us all took on the identity of the Pascal Lamb and offered Himself to be sacrificed on our behalf. What would be the outcome of such sacrifice? For those who would believe, the promise was sealed for them called eternal life in Heaven with the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. And while it is impossible to truly imagine living without the Father or the Son, though some of us can imagine it in our earthly lives all too well, to imagine living anywhere in all of creation without the Holy Spirit is intended to be impossible.

The person of the Holy Spirit is critical to our understanding of God. Without it we would not be able to truly and authentically live. We might have life as scientists are able to “create” life in the process of cloning or, in the new venture born out of science fiction, with AI: Artificial Intelligence. I have no doubt that a new moniker will be created to replace that term just as the “hope” of such a creation may replace the need for humanity to exert any effort beyond pleasing one’s self. To live such a life where work, industry and the building up of a strong human community no longer is needed or exists is to live in a state of bliss or perhaps some kind of Nirvana. It would be the human system of living beyond the penalty and consequence of “sin-festation.” Remembering that as Adam and Eve transgressed against God and were expelled from the Garden of Eden, the penalty for their “sin” was to live life in a world of work. For Adam it was to “toil in the soil.” Whatever he would sow, that he would also reap. For Eve it was to experience the pain of childbirth and submitting to a life that would forever be within her even after birth. But, for neither Adam nor Eve, none of that would be possible on their own volition. Without the presence and indwelling of the Spirit of God which had been breathed into them at their “birth,” they would not be alive. To deny such awareness of the vitality of the Holy Spirit and its necessity in our lives is to say “I am not alive.” Oh, we may live but do we truly have life and have it abundantly. To succeed in and of ourselves is not the same as to succeed in completing our identity best revealed in Christ Jesus. We will one day experience, upon our confession of faith and profession of faith, the introduction to such an abundant life, or that authentic life. We will even experience both work and recreation as acts of worship and praise of the One True God, Yahweh Elohim. We will do so in such form and fashion as becomes the image in which we were created which is Jesus as the Christ. But, it will not happen and cannot happen without the presence, the on-dwelling and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God. So, the design of AI is to eliminate the effect and the knowledge of what we know to be “original sin.” It will effectively, only in human terms, cut us off from the need for the knowledge of God which is dispensed through and by the Holy Spirit of God. And, it will go even further as to deny the promise of fulfillment for which Jesus prayed would happen in all those who committed to be His disciples. What is that promise? Jesus prayed for the Father to send the Holy Spirit to comfort, guide, teach and build up the body of faith, the community called the Church, and all its members. This is something AI cannot and will never be able to do. Pushed to its formidable limits, AI will create a community that serves only itself. All members of it will forfeit their own desires to submit to the desire of AI. In the freedom to live only pleasurable lives there will be no satisfaction. In its place will be the servitude of slavery to the greater will of a self-serving “artificial” intelligence. In other words, it is not real but only gives the appearance of real. It will speak of life but it will not give life. It will be a life without a soul and without an authentic consciousness that directs it to a higher power and a completed existence. It will be a life without spirit and without truth. It will be an existence and a living; but without the Holy Spirit it will not be life. Thus, to blaspheme the Holy Spirit is to deny its very existence and say “There is no such thing in my life.” This is dangerous territory which no person, not even Satan himself, has gone or dared to go.

But, it exists and why would we want to go there? This is why a loving Father would expressly declare that blasphemy of the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. You see, it can’t be forgiven if there is no Holy Spirit in us to seal the peace of forgiveness in us and through us to one another. On that note, I will leave further discussion to reflect upon tomorrow.

TODAY’S PRAYER:

Father, grant to us as a good father gives only good gifts to his children, the gift of the Holy Spirit. Without it we will surely die a death that will never end and live without life forever and ever. In Jesus’ name we pray this, AMEN.

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