Sunday, July 24, 2005

Is God like the PK HEM?

Funny as it seems, I did consider that question yesterday. (For the uninitiated, PK HEM is the acronym for Penolong Kanan Hal Ehwal Murid: basically the teacher who takes care of all the student affairs like discipline, et cetera).

David said this to Soo Tian sometime last week, in response to that little adventure of mine:

"Well, I don't think they'll be harsh on Ben, but they will probably have to do *something*. They have to try to balance between treating Ben fairly and the wrong impression it will give if they let him go scott [sic] free."

And then I thought about something McLaren mentioned in The Last Word and the Word After That: is God subject to a higher law than himself?

For if we tend to place God in a position in which he has a dilemma between choosing mercy or justice. The way our popular gospel puts it, God wants to be merciful to us sinners, because he is love. But at the same time, he is just and holy, and so cannot tolerate sin. From a more holistic point of view, though, the sin is technically inseparable from the sinner; we must not dichotomise, for sin and mortal man cannot exist independent of the other.

Anyway, back to topic. If God has that dilemma, he is, as McLaren put it, like a judge who must operate within the confines of the law and constitution. And if God is like this sort of judge, then he cannot be infinite, as we also claim.

What actually followed that incident, may serve to illustrate the existence of paths beyond the mercy-justice issue. In the end, I think the PK HEM merely threw away the piece of paper with my name, details and father's phone number. He did not let me go scot-free (having taken the badge), and didn't seem to continue with any harsh measures. Instead, he chose the path of Pilate: "I wash my hands of this man... What's that you say? Ben? Ben who?"

God is certainly not ignorant or irresponsible. But then, he is also beyond anything we can imagine, and the gospel better than we realised (to quote McLaren again). If man can be magnanimous, how much more Magnanimity himself? God has more options than we realise; not all are apparent to us, and it is not our lot to surmise. Only to believe and humbly follow along the dogged path.

1 comment:

silentsoliloquy said...

Very good thoughts.. but anyway, I like the Pilate reference. My favourite Pilate quote is, "What is truth?"