Wednesday, April 15, 2009

01: Why

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
................Romans 5:6-8 (NIV)
For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.
................John 3:17 (NIV)
When I first believed I thought that there was no way to "prove" God with reason or science or the "wisdom of this world".  I still believe this in many forms of thought, like philosophy, psychology, sociology and most of the "soft" sciences.  But when I was around 15 years into my belief I realized that "hard" science, mathematics, physics and biology, those studies that focus on understanding what is rather than interpreting it, are bound to reveal God. 

We were in a Bible Study of Romans at our church in Hopkinton, looking in Chapter 1 we came across these verses (19-21):
    The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.   For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.
For all the years up until this night this verse baffled me.  How could a tree reveal to someone who has never seen or heard of the Bible the salvation plan of Jesus Christ?  I didn't realize that nature reveals God's nature, His Character, and not the intricate details of His Plan. 

  • Our universe is not the only universe, there is something called the multiverse (m-theory)
  • our universe is one of many or an infinite number of universes
  • A being from one of these other universes set our universe in motion with the big bang
  • this Being does not operate under the physical laws of our universe; all the laws of matter and time have no effect on this Being or others from that other universe
  • this being introduced life into this universe, here on earth, maybe elsewhere as well
  • This Being intended to colonize this universe with a form of offspring tailored to exist in this universe and eventually move between universes
  • at some point this Being imprinted a select species with its nature, raising it above the other life around it
  • This plan was disrupted by other beings from the other universe for various reasons, the main one being jealousy
  • As a result, the offspring are stuck in a transient state, half beast, half decedent, not fully formed
  • This Being had a solution that would close the gap and bring its offspring to full development, but it required intervention from the Being
  • Since the early humans were half beast, half decedents, this Being needed a way to explain to them what had happened, who this Being is and how to move towards full development
  • This Being chose one clan among all the clans on Earth as the gene pool from which a path to full development and to the other universe would emerge
  • This Being used this clan to illustrate to the entire world what had happened, how to achieve full development and the consequences of disobedience.  This became the Bible.
  • The Bible is not a scientific text, as only 1% of the time it has existed has humanity had the knowledge to understand the real nature of this universe. 
  • To reach the other 99% of that time the Being used story forms that could be understood - metaphor, history, genealogies, poetry, law.


02: So What

They led Jesus then from Caiaphas to the Roman governor's palace. It was early morning. They themselves didn't enter the palace because they didn't want to be disqualified from eating the Passover. So Pilate came out to them and spoke. "What charge do you bring against this man?"

They said, "If he hadn't been doing something evil, do you think we'd be here bothering you?"

Pilate said, "You take him. Judge him by your law."

The Jews said, "We're not allowed to kill anyone." (This would confirm Jesus' word indicating the way he would die.)

Pilate went back into the palace and called for Jesus. He said, "Are you the 'King of the Jews'?"

Jesus answered, "Are you saying this on your own, or did others tell you this about me?"

Pilate said, "Do I look like a Jew? Your people and your high priests turned you over to me. What did you do?"

"My kingdom," said Jesus, "doesn't consist of what you see around you. If it did, my followers would fight so that I wouldn't be handed over to the Jews. But I'm not that kind of king, not the world's kind of king."

Then Pilate said, "So, are you a king or not?"

Jesus answered, "You tell me. Because I am King, I was born and entered the world so that I could witness to the truth. Everyone who cares for truth, who has any feeling for the truth, recognizes my voice."

Pilate said, "What is truth?"

Then he went back out to the Jews and told them, "I find nothing wrong in this man. It's your custom that I pardon one prisoner at Passover. Do you want me to pardon the 'King of the Jews'?"

They shouted back, "Not this one, but Barabbas!" Barabbas was a Jewish freedom fighter.

................John 18:28-40 (The Message)

The long and short of it....
We are losing sight of the miracle of our uniqueness.

Numbers don’t lie (unlike politicians…)
Cynicism: Expressing jaded or scornful skepticism or negativity, as from world-weariness; Believing that people are motivated by self-interest; distrustful of human sincerity or integrity...

Pilate was a modern man. Give him an expensive suit and teach him a little English and he could have easily fit right in on the board of Enron. Having traveled the world, led campaigns in all corners of the Empire, experienced cultures and compared them (as wanting) to his own, his world view was wonderfully and modernly relative. The three words he uttered when confronted by Jesus ring throughout all of history—what is truth?

When I was younger I thought he responded with arrogance—“Bah! What is truth? What does this Jewish peasant know?" Now that I am older, perhaps Pilate’s age when he was confronted with Jesus, I start to wonder if it was more like this—“Sigh, what is truth? What does this Jewish peasant know?"

Pilate's response was ultimately cynical—“So be it. The man dies.” Jesus’ “truth” may have been questionable in Pilate’s mind, but the injustice of the day was evident. So be it.

Fast forward. Nothing changes; cynicism remains the toxin that permeates the modern era. To modern man humanity is dangerous and cruel, a plague upon the earth. Humans are the cheapest, most expendable resource on the planet, an easily replenishable source of labor—coal and oil are more valuable by the ton than humans are.  In our valuelessness we find futility.

Consider the Twentieth Century, the age of science and industrialism.  The last century produced more death, chaos, despair, oppression, war, pestilence, disease, and malice than any century in our history. Between 1899 and 1999[
1] it is estimated that over 200 million people died in wars alone. Add to that another approximate 550 million in abortions, 8+ million homicides and an additional 3+ million racially motivated homicides. Let’s call it 800 million people all together. For comparison it is estimated that natural pandemics, such as small pox and influenza, and natural disasters account for about the same numbers killed in the last century.

But wait! The population skyrocketed in the same time period. The world’s population[
2] was around 1 billion in the early 1800s, hit 2 billion in the early 1900s and has been rising dramatically all through the last half of the twentieth century, so of course there will be increased numbers in death rates; there are more people to die. Seems like a logical objection--the high volumes in murder are “normalized” by the high volume of available people to kill.  This kind of statistical rationalizing is scary. Why do we not look at these numbers and shudder? 800 million people murdered! Can we even imagine what a number like that means? Perhaps this will help put it into perspective…


People killed in the 20th century (approx.)


Average human brain

3 pounds / 1.35 kg

2,400,000,000 pounds, or

1,090,909,091 kg

Average human body

150 pounds, or

68.18 kg

120,000,000,000 pounds, or

  54,545,454,545 kg

Average quantity of blood

6 quarts, or

6.45 L

1,200,000,000 gallons, or

5,161,290,323 L

Average lifespan

30 years

24,000,000,000 years not lived

Number of teeth


25,600,000,000 teeth

Average heartbeats in a life


35,040,000,000,000,000 (that’s 35 quadrillion)

Average breathes in a life


7,884,000,000,000,000 (that’s 7.8 quadrillion)

Consider this: the average human heart pumps roughly 578,160 gallons (2,207,520 liters) of blood in a year. All the blood pumped by those 800 million people during the course of their lost lives comes to 13,875,800,000,000,000 gallons (that’s 13.87 quadrillion gallons), or 52,980,500,000,000,000 liters (that’s 52.98 quadrillion liters) of blood pumped through veins in bodies not living—all gone. 
  18.9 trillion gallons of water goes over the Canadian Niagara Falls every year.  The volume of blood pumped though all those dead hearts would equal all the water that has fallen over Niagara Falls for the past 733 years.

The dead are silent, and we scramble for the next technotoy.  Is that jaded?  Sure.

Too much information, not enough context
We are overwhelmed with data—statistics, advertisements, entertainment, facts, lies—it rushes in at all speeds and at all angles.  On any given day we are harangued by a thousand pointless attacks on our senses, demanding we bend our attention to pointless decisions concerning pointless consequences.  And when confronted with facts (most of the human life ended in the last century was ended prior to birth), we reply with easy prejudice (they're only fetus, not even human), or we blame someone else (I didn't do it), or we fall back on some tired slogan (“a woman's fundamental right to choose”).   Niagara Falls.

The view that the Earth is just another meaningless speck of dust in a vast and meaningless universe is both cynical and naive.  It stems from the idea that, considering the infinite vastness of the universe and the infinite power of probability, we are insignificant.  We are arrogant if we believe we matter in the face of such an enormous universe. It is probable, in fact, to believe that in the vast enormity of space there are civilizations older and superior to humanity.  We are just an insignificant spec of hostile, angry, toxic dust, the Judean backwater to the Universe's grander Rome.

The Myth of Insignificance
If we are the product of infinite probability, what exactly does that mean?  The probability that we would be here is 1 in 10 to the 282nd power (that’s 1 in 1 million trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion[
3]).  If a million with 23 trillions after it doesn't mean anything to you, this is what it looks like in good old fashioned numbers:

1:1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000

Frankly, I'm not feeling the love here.  At what point does reasonable improbability blow up the theory of infinite probability?

It is fascinating that we take earthly life for granted--life floating mysteriously in the vast, sterile void of space.  I grow tired of hearing about how insignificant we are here in the provincial backwaters compared to the splendor of some imagined galactic Rome.  What we fail to see is the miracle of life here, abounding life, in the middle of which we sit gazing up at nothing, hoping for something other than what we are. What if there is no other life in space? What if we truly are special?

Where's the Fire...
Consider the timescale of the cosmos. Even though folks talk about the Universe in billions and trillions, it is actually very, very young when you consider it in its own time scale. The numbers may seem large, but to the Universe time is a relative thing. Some estimate the universe will go on forever, at some point however, all fuel in the universe will be depleted and it will approach absolute zero (so some say).  Fact is, we can only guess.  Let us assume that all fuel will be exhausted at the year 1039 after the birth of the universe.  That's a projected life span of 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years (that’s 1 Duodecillion).  It is only currently 13,700,000,000 years old now.  This means that the universe has lived 0.0000000000000000000000000000137% of its life to date.  I feel so young!

We are fleas trying to understand an elephant, so let’s look at the elephant in flea terms.  I want to understand how quickly the universe gave birth to life after its own birth relative to its own lifespan.  It’s like this, if a woman who will live 100 years has a baby at the age of 20, 20% of her life has gone by before giving birth.  Using an analogy like that, the universe had lived  0.0000000000000000000000000000077% of its own life when life first appeared.  This is just too small a number to have meaning.  Assume the universe will only live 100,000,000,000,000,000 years (that’s 100 quadrillion, a reduction of 22 zeroes).  If that’s the case, the universe spawned life when it had lived 0.000000077% of its life.  Comparatively, in the lifespan of the same 100 year old woman, she would have had her first baby 4 minutes after her own birth.  I used to think those scientists talking about the slow grind of billions and billions of years was a long time.  Now, eh. 

Life is in a hurry. It didn't take long for life to develop in the universe considering the potential lifespan of the Universe.  If we consider the appearance of life related to the entire age of the universe, we have to stop and ask God, “Where's the fire?”  Maybe, just maybe, we are the beginning of all things.  How much of those first 17 billion years was the universe a hot, radioactive waste of unformed galaxies, stars and planets?  For most of the universe’s existence there was no place for life to form!  It is humbling to look at the magnitude of the universe and to be awed that so much has happened on our tiny planet in such an incredibly short time. We look to the skies for life, convinced that we are not alone, longing for some better, more civilized form of life out there than we wretched humans.  Maybe, just maybe, this is all there is.

It's like we are a disgruntled Jewish peasant mob longing for some unseen, imagined Caesar.  We cry out to this unseen power "There is no king but probability", doing our best to kill the prophet whose only message is that we matter.  Like the Jewish leaders in the time of the Roman Empire, are we trading the miracle of our uniqueness for puppet insignificance?

If we act under the assumption that we don't matter in the grand scheme of things, then it becomes easy to treat others that way as well, to shrug our shoulders as we push them over the Niagara Falls.

[3] Probability For Life On Earth (APR 2004), Dr. Hugh Ross 


3: The Age of Unmeaning

Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As men moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.

They said to each other, "Come, let's make bricks and bake them thoroughly." They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth."

But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building. The LORD said, "If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other."

So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel—because there the LORD confused the language of the whole world. From there the LORD scattered them over the face of the whole earth.
Genesis 11:1-9 (NIV)

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil,
who put darkness for light and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.
................Isaiah 5:20-12 (NIV)


The long and short of it....
Diversity is not a blessing, but rather a curse. 

Scatter shot
One of the most interesting stories of Genesis is of the Tower of Babel. Mankind, in his arrogance, starts building a tower that would reach up to Heaven, so he can move into the penthouse suite and barbecue on the deck immediately across from his new neighbor, God Himself. The tower represents man’s capabilities. 

God saw the tower of Babel and thought, “There goes the neighborhood.” When these men worked together they had great potential, so long as they could swarm. They united in a single cause to seek God by their genius and works.  The tower wasn’t a threat to God, but rather a monument to mankind’s likeness to God.  It was an idol to themselves.  So God struck them with a curse, the inability to speak to each other. God obliterated their similarity and replaced it with diversity. Once they lost the ability to relate to each other, they lost their purpose and melted into chaos.

It is probably dismissed as a children’s story because it is seemingly so farfetched, but it holds an interesting truth—at the core or our being we are all the same, and in our sameness there is power.  If you diminish our uniformity, you diminish our power. 

Celebrate Diversity?
Diversity is the curse of Babel. The more we focus on what makes us different the more quickly we lose sight of the things that make us one single race of people, a family. When we focus only on the minutia that is different between us (language, culture, preferences) and ignore what makes us all the same (bodies, emotions, soul), we flail around in a chaos of noise and confusion.  When we obsess on the little differences it is easy to make decisions with horrific consequences. The Holocaust of World War II is not the first time when the celebration of diversity was expressed in genocide.

Instead of celebrating diversity, we should celebrate humanity. The blood of a Peruvian lama farmer or a little old woman working in a Taiwanese open-air food market could go directly into your veins and keep you from dying.  The hearts of Osama Bin Ladin or Adolf Hitler could be transplanted into an "infidel" or a Jew.  Any O+ Dalits (untouchable) in India could save the life of any O+ Brahman. The Arabs and the Jews come from the same common ancestor, father Abraham, and yet they are hell bent of killing one another.

All Roads Lead Home
At the foot of Babel, all of humanity is scattered into chaos. They call out into the confusion and find others who they can understand, and then they set off, by foot, by ship, abandoning a power now lost.  They wander into the darkness of pre-history.  In all directions they move out.  Over time Babel becomes a distant memory, a fable.  Over time even the thought of other people, speaking differently, looking differently, becomes alien and threatening.  People once united in power are swallowed up in pockets of isolation, weakened by division.  They multiply on the other side of history. 

The world being finite, it’s only a matter of time until the fringes overlap.  We rediscover each other.  All ships have sailed around the world, all ships are in sight once again.  The people are congregating on the decks, pointing, wondering.  From every direction the ships are converging at the end of time.  They are far away from the old tower, but a new tower is being built. At the base of that new tower the families are coming together, greeting one another, teaching each other how to speak their languages, and with the learning of new language comes a roar of fresh perspective.

The new Babel is not about collective meaning or power or accomplishment. The new Babel is about diversity.  We are still deluded about our capabilities; we are still under the curse of the old tower even as we try to build a new one.   Before the curse there was one “we” trying to be like the one God.  Now, as we crowd together we burn with the friction of "them."  Will the pagans and the Muslims and the Christians and the scientists and the witches ever really agree?  As we try to embrace the expanding diversity the curse grows more powerful.  

The Age of Unmeaning
Our common base understanding of the universe is gone. Our sense of diversity is so strong that some people now believe that the color of the skin indicates a differentiator of species, and that a black man and a white woman are not even of the same race. We are transfixed by difference, surrounded by a hurricane of ideas, a swirling vortex of information.  All points of view have equal weight, equal impact, equal validity, everything meaning anything meaning nothing—unmeaning. The curse is unbroken.

Welcome to the Age of Unmeaning. Unmeaning is not non-meaning, in which meaning cannot be found. Unmeaning is the confluence of all meaning. Unmeaning is the engine that drives the modern incarnation of the curse of Babel. Unmeaning is the grease that will quicken our slide into the end.

04: People Shock

While Paul was waiting… in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with both Jews and God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there. A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to debate with him. Some of them asked, "What is this babbler trying to say?" Others remarked, "He seems to be advocating foreign gods." …

Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: "People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.

"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 'For in him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring.'

"Therefore since we are God's offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead."

When they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some of them sneered, but others said, "We want to hear you again on this subject."

................Acts 17:16-32 (TNIV)

The long and short of it....

We are all built the same. There is one, and only one, human race. How is a truly Godly life lived? To be Godly we must treat each other as God treats us--with love, compassion, and help. If our "righteousness" gets in the way of this, it is evil.

Horton Who?
A few years back I went on my first business trip to India. All my friends and colleagues who had been there already offered stories and advice to help me “prepare” for the big differences. I heard stories about one person’s first step into an Indian market and how he was assaulted by the colors, sights and smells, the hearty, pungent, spicy scent of humans and food and dogs and cows and smoke and excrement whirling around him like a typhoon. Others told me it was like a trip to the moon.

I decided to keep an open mind. For all their differences, these moon creatures were actually still only people. I was traveling with a colleague who decided to learn absolutely everything he could about the culture before stepping foot there. His wife got him this huge book on Indian culture, which he read voraciously. Prior to the trip he'd quiz me on the nuances of Indian culture and lore. I decided I’d try an experiment. I cleared my mind of all preconceptions of India, forgot everything anyone ever told me about it, and politely ignored the Indian cultural lessons from my buddy. Whereas he would step off the plane fully armed with the power of preconception, I would wander off the plane blinking unknowingly.

Every night at dinner we discussed our various culture-shock moments from the day, and an interesting thing happened. While my buddy had something to report nearly every day, I reported nothing. There was no culture shock for me – 0. The difference was, while he was looking for all the differences based on his preconceptions, I was looking for nothing. He looked for traditions, I looked at conditions. He filtered inputs, I soaked it up raw. While we drove down the street and he pointed out the various social and cultural constructs, I looked out the window and saw children playing with dogs, mothers carrying babies, men sitting together and chatting, playing checkers.

I realized on that trip the difference between people and the clutter around them. I had no culture shock because I didn’t care about the culture, or any specific micro.  I was interested in the general macro of humanity. I was looking for the universal, and found that ignoring the uniquely Indian traits made their general humanity more visible. By ignoring the clothes, I could see the people. By ignoring the faces I could look into the eyes. In the midst of all this humanity some words came back to me from my childhood—a person’s a person, no matter how small.

How do I separate micro from macro? Genetic variation between any two people is 0.01%, and many of those variations are mutations of shared traits.  You are reading this on a computer of some kind, and the differences between a laptop and a smartphone are more dramatic that the differences between any two given people.  Let's make a comparison between our greatest creation, the computer, and God's greatest creation, you.   

It's probably a coincidence, but the model used to make a computer work is pretty much exactly the same model that makes you work. 

A basic desktop computer is made up of four layers—hardware, firmware and two variants of software. It looks like this:
Hardware is the hard stuff, the motherboard, case, memory, CPU, drives, keyboards, mice, monitors and anything else that's snapped together to make up the body of the computer.

Software is all the different kinds of programs that run on a computer. You can break this down into two classes—the operating system (OS) and the applications that run on top of the operating system.  Applications include web browsers and word processors and the like.  The Operating System is a fantastically complex kind of software that acts like a master controller for nearly everything that happens on the layer above it.

Sitting between the hardware and the software is the firmware, software embedded in the hardware that tells the hardware how to work at the lowest level. How does the motherboard understand the memory that is installed on it? The firmware handles that.

So how is the computer designed based on how we are designed?  Pretty much the same.  Human hardware is straightforward—a lung is a piece of hardware that does a job. It can be exchanged or upgraded easily enough if the part is compatible with the overall system. It's not as simple with the brain, but it wasn't too long ago that a heart transplant was a daunting idea. Personally, I'd rather keep my brain, though an upgrade would be nice. Skin is a casing—it comes in a range of colors and keeps all the other parts from sliding to the floor.

Human software is pretty straightforward also. It functions on two layers for people just as it does in computers. At the operating system level you have “the mind”, that wonderful mix of intellect and emotion. The computer OS is tightly integrated to the computer hardware just as the mind is tightly integrated to the brain. You cannot run any operating system on any computer. Operating systems are designed specifically for specific hardware, just as the basic competencies of the mind are specifically a function of the brain.

Our firmware is the soul.

It all looks like this:
To understand the fullness of a person I need to see all the layers and not focus on the topmost or bottom most layers.  If I look at other people and mainly focus on the bottom most layer, the body, all I see is the difference--color, shape, condition, whatever.  If I look at people and focus mainly on the topmost layer, their learning and culture, all I see is difference--language, culture, clothing, whatever.  Layered between these two lie the intellect, emotion and the soul.  These are the least visible but the most similar attributes between us.  When I looked out the taxi window I saw children enjoying a dog, a mother loving her baby, two old friends enjoying loyalty and companionship.  These are human traits found everywhere in the world.  Connecting at the heart, the mind and the soul is the key to connection to every other human on Earth.  Understanding that my operations at these layers is no different than any other person makes it possible for me to understand our connectedness by design, and this connection is the key to compassion.  With compassion, I am capable of kindness.  If I operate only looking at the outtermost layers I may fall into the trap of seeing other people only in terms of isms (racism, nationalism, sexism) and stereotypes.  My preconceptions kill compassion, and without compassion there is no peace.  

The Means Justify the End
The thing I love most about Jesus Christ is His love for common people. His short ministry was all about comforting, teaching, feeding/healing, and preaching (e.g. heart, mind, body and soul). His target audience was not the well-to-do, but rather the poor, the wretched, the sick and lame, the outcasts and the undesirables of Jewish culture. And yet this short time of ministry in those backwards times, living among the poor and outcast, this ministry has changed the world more than all the other ministries combined.

How do the various ministries and churches of the Christian faith compare with those of our founder? I think we are far too hung up on the idea of “perfection”, of looking perfect (rich, well groomed, beautiful, safe, healthy, ad nausea) and have lost sight of the idea of being “God’s offspring” (unique, creative, willful, aware).

Jesus ended the Beatitudes with this line (Matthew 5:48, NIV):

    "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Out of context it appears that God is asking us to BE perfect as God is perfect. When you take a single line out of context (and translated from another language) it is guaranteed that its meaning will be misinterpreted. Look at the rest of this section of the sermon (Matthew 5:43-48, NIV):

    "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

Jesus is not telling us to be perfect as we understand perfection.  He is correcting the erroneous teachings of His church to that time. The true nature of God, Heavenly perfection, is based on love, unconditional love.  It is a command to the firmware, to the soul.  Love as God loves, undonditionally, without judgement or pretense, without strings and conditions.  The perfection He is teaching about operates the opposite of the perfection of outtermost layers, body and culture.

Worldly perfection, outward perfection, is a kind of rigid legalism that breeds judgment.

If I only focus on the perfection that I can measure (say, the perfection of law) then I can suddenly imitate perfection, and from that vantage judge others (those who do not follow the law). I am now in a position of superiority over others I believe to be not perfect as God is perfect. I am demonstrably perfect by the measurement of Law, and therefore superior as God is superior, and surely the perfect shall judge and reign over the imperfect! Compassion dies.

In the legalism of law I loose sight of what this God-perfection is. God’s perfection doesn’t operate in this world the way that we can conceive of perfection. In fact, the beauty of the Beatitudes is that the logic of it, the defining structures of God’s perfection, are the opposite of how we understand perfection to work in this world. I should be meek, gentle, loving, compassionate, giving, sacrificing, peacemaking, putting myself in the position of being persecuted by those who hate me and hate God. In the factorings of the world this kind of “perfection” will not make me superior, but will likely get me killed.

The Beatitudes are not a means to an end (legalism to perfection).  The Beatitudes are and end to a means.  I need to be perfect like my Father is perfect, but this is impossible. I am flawed, always have been and always will be. I can never be perfect like God is perfect, but I can imitate such perfection.  This imitation is being Christ-like, and this imitation makes me less flawed. This is the message of Paul written in Ephesians (5:1-2, NIV):
    "Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. "
And in the Message version:
    "Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that. "
So in essence the message is, "The means justify the ends”—you are perfect only when you imitate perfection, and perfection for God is love and compassion.

If you were the only person alive on Earth, would you matter?
Yes—if the only human being alive was a small untouchable peasant boy named Dalit, or a bastard son named Judas, he would matter more than anything else on Earth simply because he is an offspring of God. Strip away preconception, strip away body, class and culture, strip away “perfection” and prejudice and you are left with a thing of absolute beauty and value, an exceptional being possessing consciousness and creativity unique in an otherwise dead expanse of space.

05: Vapor Trails

What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet lose or forfeit his very self?
................Luke 9:25 (NIV)

The long and short of it....

We are special because of the soul. We are not fundamentally bodies that also have a soul; we are fundamentally souls that inhabit bodies. The main connection between every person, then, is spiritual--through the soul. But if we view each other as mere bodies, it is all too easy to dismiss the eternal in favor of flesh.

It is easy to step on a bug, and so to view others as no more than bugs makes it all the easier to step on them.

Mechanical Purposelessness
We were sitting in the lounge of the hotel in Berlin. It was the end of a long day of sales meetings and strategizing. The lounge was too dark, too loud. After about thirty minutes of listening to more sales and strategizing, I asked my colleague to tell me about how he got into the business.

“I was a doctor,” he said, “but it wasn’t fulfilling to me. An opportunity opened up where I could take over running IT and to learn about computer networking and programming, so I took it…”

We talked for a while about what kind of medicine he studied, how he struggled though medical school. We talked about my background a little. I decided to spin the conversation in a new direction.

“So tell me,” I said, “what is the medical definition of the human soul?”

He laughed. “This is a difficult question, one which many in the field avoid answering. Most will say it is a part of metaphysics.”

“And what do you say?”

“It is a combination of many things, of emotion, of expressions, of thoughts, chemical-electrical impulses across synapses, all functions of the body and all measurable and quantifiable. Doctors are scientists, and if a thing cannot be measured and quantified, then it is better to leave it up to those who study such things. For me, I can say I do not know.”

“So if we assume then that each quality of what we might consider a ‘soul’ is simply the functioning of an organ, with what are we left as we eliminate each organ? Is there a ‘something more than the sum of the parts’?”

We talked long about the prevailing wisdom. Some think that a soul does not exist without the body that conducts it; that we are chemical-electrical machines, nothing more. To them the soul then is simply an illusion, an imaginary friend made up of many measurable pieces, a warm and comfortable quilt of emotion, thought, superstition, stitched together and draped around us in an attempt of our unusually powerful and imaginative brains to invent some kind of higher purpose for our existence. We are glorified apes jabbing highly complex sticks into highly complex termite mounds, dreaming with our advanced imagination and creativity that there is a greater meaning for us than to simply die and rot back into the dust. In this imagining and creating and choosing we invent purpose where there really is none, and in this choosing and creating we invent destiny, we invent Heaven and suddenly our animal, mechanical purposelessness becomes bearable.

I am twenty months away in my mind, standing in my bother’s kitchen. It is around 9 PM, May 3rd, 2006. I am talking with another doctor.

“What was the time of death?”

“8:12. It was very beautiful and peaceful. He fell asleep and we lowered the oxygen so gradually he didn’t even notice that he was dying. At the end, the only time he moved was an involuntary twinge in his face at the moment of death. The girls thought he was smiling because he was going up to heaven.”

He says it as if it is sweet that the children could think such a foolish thing, that it was one of those random little spasms of life or death that the naive believe have meaning, but since they are children, and had just lost their father, it is nice, it is ok to let them think this. We are adults, we know better…

I am sad for the doctor. He did a brilliant job, he was kind and helpful to my brother and sister-in-law and the girls to go through such a terrible evening, but I am sad for his medicinal emptiness, his distant professionalism. How many people must one watch die to lose the sense loss?

What is the Soul?
I have wrestled with this question for months: how can the soul be defined without using religious or metaphysical dogma? Remove every existing definition of soul (spirit, ghost, life force, electricity), disassociate the concept of soul from every philosophy, every religion, every science, and with what are you left? This is the problem for me—I am not interested in understanding the soul in dogmatic terms. The soul—like God Himself—cannot be captured, pinned down, bottled up, grown in a dish, sliced and diced and set on a slide to peer at through a microscope.

The problem with thinking about the soul in traditional ways (ghost, spirit, electricity, etc) presents me with the same problem presented to searchers of the electron. The soul exists within this reality and yet simultaneously does not conform to the rules of this reality. It is both here and “there” simultaneously. So using terms based on “here” doesn’t really work.

There are no pictures of an electron. It does not exist in this universe in a way that allows it to be photographed, or even seen. But you can see evidence of electrons around you everywhere. Turn on the light in your house, it is charged with electricity—electrons. At most you can see the orbit of an electron around its nucleus, blinking in and out of our reality so quickly that all you can really detect is where it was, and after enough blips you can understand its orbit, or what is called the electron cloud. Similarly, you can shoot electrons through a cloud chamber (look up the Wilson Cloud Chamber) and only see their vapor trails. How do you grab onto something moving just shy of the speed of light?

The soul, like God Himself, is not something that I can fully understand. It is enough for me, then, to look for evidence of the soul without ever really having to capture one in a jar.

The soul is like this. You cannot see it, but you can see the evidence of it everywhere. Perhaps the very things we take for granted, our creativity, our inventiveness and creativeness, our capacity for such broad ranges of emotion, the complex interactions of human history, all the things that are attributed to well-fed brain lobes and good weather over the past few millennia, maybe these are the vapor trails of the soul. It is all these things that make us so different from banana slugs, starfish and squirrels. Perhaps all of this is not merely evidence of a good evolutionary run in an otherwise meaningless clockwork orange, but rather it is evidence of something more in us than exists in any other life on Earth, anywhere else in the galaxy that we can see—the very image of God, the human soul.

Here, There, Everywhere
Every culture on Earth somehow addresses the existence of soul. The only cultures to abandon the idea are the new political and scientific cultures spawned by the Industrial Revolution, the age of machines. The view that the soul is an illusion, hallucinatory residue of the evolutionary engineering of our big, powerful, animal brains, is a new explanation on the world stage, relatively speaking. The flaw in this thinking, the danger, really, is that machines can be shut down and turned back on again at will, no harm done. If you take this kind of thinking and apply it to humanity you get the Twentieth Century. But what if the thinking is turned upside down—the energy that dwells in every human is not the source of the hallucination modern man calls eternity, but is the essence of eternity itself, dwelling both in this universe and the next simultaneously.

You can destroy the body, but the soul cannot be shut down—it is our eternal essence, that part of us that is both here and “there” at the same time. Whereas the electricity that drives the Internet and all of its virtual reality is physical, mindless, collective energy, it is bound to the laws of our physical reality. What if this universal thing that exists within every culture, within every imagination, within every body is power from God's otherverse used to animate us within His virtual eternity (our reality)? The soul then would have a dual reality, of our universe and of God's otherverse, existing under the laws of both realities simultaneously. How can this be? How can this make sense? It makes sense in the same way that light is both a particle and a wave—it cannot and yet it does. Perhaps the soul does not exist because it is dependent on our external reality, but rather our external reality exists because of the soul?

Models Revisited
The soul is the eternal, ethereal thing that God fashioned in his own image and which exists here and now. It is the independent, eternal, unique and aware power that permeates every other aspect of self and the essence of that thing which is created in the image of God Himself. What is the color of God's skin, the number of His legs, the color and texture of His hair? It doesn't matter—what does matter is the nature of God's soul, because that is what we are fashioned after, not the paper box that it sits in now. It is God's capacity for thought and emotion, the nature of His personality, the essence of His love that is the blueprint of mankind. Like God, the soul cannot be pigeon-holed within the observable rules of this limited universe. It is both here and not here simultaneously—that part of us that exists both within us and within eternity at the same time.

Soul is the gift from God to us that makes us special, unique and different from all other life just as the combined DNA from me and my wife is that special bit of ourselves that makes our children uniquely related to us, and without which they would not exist.

In the previous section I modeled a human being after the computer like this:

The more I thought about it, though, the more I realized this model cannot work. Using a Venn diagram, you can better see the problem:In this model, the soul is a subset of the body, and therefore the body takes precedence over the soul. This is exactly the problem we are facing, and the driver for much of the violence and destruction in the world. We focus on tiny differences in the casing, ignoring the connectedness and relationship we have to eachoether at a deeper level.

Focusing on that tiny bit of bodily variance in our DNA causes a lot of trouble. How many wars have been fought and are still being fought because people A believed in the sub-humanness of people B. Time for a new paradigm. What if the Venn diagram looks like this: Body, Intellect and Emotion are animated by the force of Spirit. Each sphere overlaps the other spheres within the larger plane of the soul. In this model the body is no more or less important or vital than the mind and the heart, all of which are only possible within the presence of the soul that gives them life. Now the shape at the middle, the piece that is made up of the overlapping of all the pieces, is the kernel.
The kernel, in a computer's OS, is where all the action takes place. This is ground zero, the pivot point where all the decisions are made related to the applications above and the hardware below. For a human being, the kernel is the convergence of all pieces, the intersection where the influences of body, mind, heart and soul converge.

The Question of Abortion…
The argument about when a human is a human is rather twisted. Think about it, the reason we are arguing about it is so we don’t have to feel bad about killing someone. The argument is currently couched entirely in biological terms—it’s all about the relative development of a body and the assumption that the intellect and emotions of such a thing are not there. What about the soul? When does a person get a soul, and is it the soul that really makes a person a human and not simply an animal? The real agony of abortion for me is that I believe that the soul is the true residue of conception, not the convergence of lifeless DNA. Pre- and new born babies are all about soul, all about possibility and potential. To relegate the question of human Life to mere biological mechanics, the lowest possible denominator, and dismissing all else as superstition or ignorance positions us to see all human life—unborn, children, adults, the aged—as a matter of throwing the switch, 1 or 0, on or off, and the ones who protest the least will be turned off the most.

When I think human-being, I think potential. When I look at a baby, I don't see color or gender, I see possibility. Who could this person become? Is this the next Einstein, or the next Hitler? What will I do, what will her parents do, and what will her community do to make her reach or lose her potential?

Enter other.

06: Virtual Eternity

"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other."

................John 15:1-17 (NIV)

The long and short of it....

We are stuck in a kind of Virtual Eternity with no way out. The rules of this universe indicate no exit other than death. So how do we find our way home, back to the safety and sanity of a place that has lasting, eternal meaning? Someone has to come from the larger, better eternal universe into this smaller virtual eternity and say, “Follow me, this is the way out.”

Imitating vs. Creating
Naturalism is very popular and permeates nearly any conversation one has in the West regarding the meaning of life. It is the “religion” of science and is a direct descendant of materialism and pragmatism (none of which distinguishes the supernatural from nature). So, for instance, Naturalism doesn't look to anything “supernatural” in the sense that it cannot be examined or proven outside the mechanisms of the scientific method, which are the rites and rituals governing a measurable, material universe. Here's an interesting exercise; ask a scientist if there could be an explanation other than evolution for the existence of life in the universe.  Don't ask about creationism or God.  The answer will be short.

The main thing that I've found is that this world view understates the significance of mankind by lumping us into the same bucket as apes and tomatoes, seaweed and banana slugs. It's the kind of world view that gazes forever down into the dirt. But like any view that only considers itself as the universal measure of all things, it turns a blind eye to all things outside its definitions of how things work and labels them as “immaterial”, or worse, heresy. How like the medieval church cleric is the modern naturalist—people never change.

One of the many things that separate us from all other life on the
planet is humanity's ability to creatively invent. The first sentence of the Bible is “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The very first thing we know about God is that He has the ability to create something from nothing. It is this gift of creativity that shows humanity to most resemble their creator. Where are the great symphonies written by banana slugs? Where is the copy of Hamlet written by the infinite monkeys? Sure, animals can build nests and hives, and they can even use sticks and rocks and whatnot as “tools”, but they do not invent new configurations, they do not combine sticks and stones to ultimately end up with nuclear fission—they may apply a low level of ingenuity, but they do not apply invention.

Some of the most impressive structures built in the animal world are the termite mounds found in Africa. If they were scaled to our body size, they would equal sky-scrapers, complete with air conditioning and waste management. But these structures are the same everywhere across time and space, built using the same blueprints encoded in their DNA. A termite mound is the same today as it was a bazillion years ago, as are any of the structures from the animal world. This kind of building points back to the ultimate designer, not to the local builder.

Nothing new under the sun
A few years ago I got into an interesting discussion with a developer with whom I worked. We were discussing the nature of computer language compared to the development and nature of human language. He argued that this was a completely new thing, that the whole computer revolution was completely unparalleled in human history. He thought that we had created a whole new virtual universe, completely unknown within the existing universe. In other words, we created our own reality—virtual reality. I argued that everything we are doing is more like mimicry than creation, that we were inventing on a smaller scale using ideas already executed on a larger scale, or put another way, there is nothing new under the sun.

All the inventive revolutions in human history were centered on answering a need, combining existing elements or reconfiguring existing paradigms to address the problem it solved. There have been many inventive revolutions like this through our history—the agricultural revolution, the various metallic ages, the industrial revolution, the Information revolution and the next big one, the biological revolution. But there's a difference between invention and creation.

Invention combines existing elements in new combinations to create a new compound. Creation brings new elements into existence from nothing. While invention can be creative, creation is not inventive. The light bulb (perhaps the most important invention of all time) is the combination of existing elements in a new compound, but Edison did not create Carbon to make it work. In the same way the computer revolution is more of a reconfiguration of existing principles (language, relational space, television, etc.) and not the creation of a previously non-existent, self contained, non-referential universe.

This is not splitting hairs. Like children learn through imitation, so humanity invents by imitation of creation. We have the
creative ability that manifests itself in invention, but we do not have the procreative power that manifests itself in creation. We never will because we are not God. We can conceive of creation, but we don’t have the power to create.

Here is the crux of the matter—“If you eat of the apple, then you will be like God.” This is the argument of the serpent to Eve; this is the lie that got this whole thing we are now banging around in rolling. Satan was right, if we ate of the apple of wisdom, of the knowledge of good and evil, and this gave us the ability to invent, to connect the dots, to understand paradox and desire one dimension of it over the other, then we would be truly like God. We would gain the ability to conceive of the thing internally through our new-found wisdom, but not the power to act externally. If we had eaten from the other tree, the Tree of Life, then perhaps we would have gained the ability to be God. Perhaps the Tree of Life would not only give us eternal life, but also the power to create new life—perhaps new and wonderful life, perhaps new and terrible life? If we could create what we can conceive, then wouldn't we become truly dangerous? Was this why we were promptly shown to the door after eating from the tree of Knowledge, so we didn't seize the opportunity to promote ourselves from inventors to creators?

The Holy Grail of the Naturalist is to create life—to access the power of Life, to bring forth life from the primordial soup that is the whirling mess of elements of the universe, to ultimately cheat death and become immortal. If we can do that, on our own, without any superstitious “divine intervention”, then we will prove that there is no need for a “God”, that there is in fact no “God”, for if we can create life, then surely the random engine of the universe can do the same, given enough time, and we are therefore the children of the random forces of the universe. Cheating death is one of the driving forces in the rising Biological Revolution. Scary.

So here we are, imitating our Father, but unable to do the same tricks. Thank God for that. If you define creation as bringing about absolute something from absolute nothing, and add that the absolute something must be completely different from all other absolute somethings that currently exist (including the underlying laws of physics that govern the something), then we have failed, and there is nothing truly “new” under the sun. We can't even make gold out of lead (e.g. taking an existing something and transforming it into another existing something). So in the literal world we do not have the power to be God, to create in the progenitor sense, but in the abstract we most certainly do wield the same creative force that God uses, that God has given to us and that is in fact the very essence of God's image from which we are made—imagination. From the fertility of our imagination we combine what is into new permutations of what could be—invention. And it is interesting that through the millennium our inventions are getting more and more “God-like”, the imitation via invention is more and more resembling creation, conceptually at least.

Virtual Eternity
Back to the argument about computers. Consider the Internet. We may not have created the alloys and materials required to build the Internet, but the virtual world that exists there is certainly our creation, a world of 1s and 0s closely imitating the real world of flesh and blood.

The Internet is a global series of interconnected computer networks that communicate with each other using standardized protocols for communication. Nodes, or individual computers, are all interconnected through a complex combination of public, private and government server and network infrastructure and communicate using a standardized series of universal protocols called the Internet Protocol (IP). These millions of smaller networks make possible the support of the various services that make up the content of the Internet: email, chat, web pages, etc—the World Wide Web. Within the World Wide Web is a new universe, a bubble of play reality, made up of all of these communications and activities that solely exist within an artificial, imaginary space called virtual reality.

Virtual reality is governed by a series of laws and principles that make possible its existence. These are like the rules of the physical universe that God set in place to govern matter (e.g. physics, biology, all the studies we call “hard science”). If the principles of networking coupled with the laws of communication did not exist to govern the Internet, our virtual reality would devolve into a virtual Tower of Babel. In other words, we have solved the conundrum of the curse of the Tower of Babel in virtual space. Here is the answer: homogeny. Uniform standardization and global acceptance of the fundamental protocols of the Internet are what keep the lines greased, enabling all of that wonderful data and information, that staggeringly complex virtual reality of ours to remain up and humming.

We invented this. Cool, huh. In the hundreds of millions of years that the dinosaurs ruled the earth they never invented a single thing, not a single tool, not a single toy, not a single recorded communication. The silence of the past is deafening. But in the past few thousand years we’ve gone from clicking together stones to building skyscrapers to building our own virtual universe. Maybe I’m wrong; maybe it was the dinosaurs that invented and built the infinite number of typewriters needed by the monkeys used to write Hamlet.

So, like God, we’ve “created” a universe. And while this work we’ve done is impressive, is it really creation, or is it a vastly complex imitation of the work of God? Consider
this. What if the physical world we live in is the same thing in principle to God as the virtual reality we have “created” is to us. What if the world in which we live is a kind of Virtual Eternity, a shadow reality compared to the fuller, realer reality of eternity?

Whereas we can go safely into virtual reality and play around, do work, communicate, we are in essence isolated and separate from the virtual world which we have created, and the virtual world is isolated and separate from “real reality”. We can go into the virtual world as avatars perhaps and learn things, be virtually exposed to virtual things, do virtual things, but all safely at a remove from the actual, physical universe in which we live. This allows us safety. We can model things in the virtual reality that we either can’t do in reality, or would be too dangerous to do if we could.

So what if our “real” reality is simply a virtual reality God created to keep us from doing harm in Eternal Reality until we are ready to live there? What if the universe in which we live in is a kind of more vast, more complex virtual reality, and all the art, science, philosophy, religion and everything else we are doing is a kind of universe-wide-web in which we are trapped, a tiny bubble of play eternity where we are working out the big question—Why? When man stepped through the gates on the east of Eden he was stepping from eternal reality into physical reality, from Eternity into Virtual Eternity. It would be comparable to step from the rich reality you know now into the rigid, two-dimensional, data-driven reality of virtual space.

This is all fun, but what's the point?
When you are a virtualized participant within the virtual world, no real harm can come to the real you. In fact, the only “real harm” related to the virtual world is when we put too much of ourselves (like our real financial and personal data) into virtual reality and it becomes a target for the bad guys, or when we invite the bad guys to come visit us in reality. Now consider what Jesus did. He took himself out of the safe Eternal universe that is His real world and inserted himself wholly into our dangerous Virtual Eternity with the aim of bringing out anyone who would follow him. In doing so, He put all of His personal information out there for anyone who would listen, good guys or bad guys, and He invited the bad guys to destroy Him. Imagine stepping wholly into a first-person shooter game in which the bullets would really kill you. Imagine stepping from the safe, known universe in which you live and suddenly being exposed to the crazy protocols and extreme violence of DOOM. This is exactly what Jesus did.

We are stuck in this Virtual Eternity with no way out. The rules of this universe indicate no exit.
So how do we find our way home, back to the safety and sanity of the Eternal Universe? Someone has to come from the larger, better eternal universe into this smaller virtual eternity and say, “Follow me, this is the way out.” But here’s the thing I love about all this. Unlike the soulless, two-dimensional data-blobs we’ve created in our virtual reality that cannot do anything without following a line of code or an end-user command, we have choice—we have free will. We can be pointed to the exit and shown the solution and yet still say, “Nah, I’m good. Thanks anyway.”

So what is the way out? What is the homogenous protocol that God provides us to overcome the rules of this Virtual Eternity and find our way out? Simple: the universal protocol is Love. This takes us back to the two rules:

  • Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.
  • Love your neighbor as yourself.
The law of Love is the homogenous standard, applicable across all humans in all cultures in all geographies across all of history. Love is the secret language of God; it is the key to Eternity. God does not speak Hebrew or Greek or Latin—God doesn’t need to speak any of our languages to express his universal character, since His universal character is Love itself. And our primary function, the optimization we must accomplish in this Virtual Eternity, is to learn this language, to become conversant in it, to make this our prime protocol to which all other protocols conform. The laws that we have instituted within this Virtual Eternity that govern our behavior and define our relationships between ourselves no longer follow this law. Finding our way home is all about finding the original language, our first language, God’s language, and using it. Put another way... 
    "I am the Universal Protocol, and my Father is the Mainframe. He cuts off every node connected to Him through me that does not execute the universal protocol, while every node that does execute the universal protocol He optimizes so that it will be even more productive. You are already connected behind the fire-wall because of the protocols I have given to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No node can be optimized by itself; it must remain in the Intranet. Neither can you be optimized unless you remain connected to the Internet via the universal protocol. "I am the Universal Protocol; you are the nodes. If a node remains in me and I in him, he will be optimized; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a node that is disconnected and obsolete; such nodes are picked up, thrown into the recycling bin and crushed, melted down and returned to the environment. If you remain in me and my protocols remain in you, ask for whatever upgrades you wish, and they will be downloaded to you. This is to my Father's glory, that you be optimized, showing yourselves to be a part of my Network. "As the Father has used the universal protocol to remain connected with me, so I use the universal protocol to remain connected with you. Now remain in my universal protocol. If you obey my logic, you will remain in my network, just as I have obeyed my Father's logic and remain in his network. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My universal protocol is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you stand-alone, because a stand-alone node does not know the mainframe’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not optimize me, but I optimized you and appointed you to go and produce eternally. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my universal protocol: Love each other.