Sine qua non
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness.5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. – Genesis 1:1-4
“It’s a sine qua non,” said my seminary Greek professor. “Sine qua non? What is that?” “It means, ‘without which there is nothing,'” he answered. You can’t go on if you don’t pass Greek. I was in no little danger of not going on (hope you can follow the double-negative!).
God is the ultimate sine qua non. Without him there is nothing. We cannot go on without God. Had God not said, “Let there be light,” there would be no light. Without light there is no life. Too many people try to do a work-around in this regard. Too many people try to live as though God is deus qua non: God is nothing to them. He’s a non-factor. There is no creator. There is no accountability. We, not God, will determine that which is good or evil. That, after all, is the Original Sin: Adam and Eve decided to determine for themselves that which was good or evil.
God calls the light good. He names the day and night. He orders time. He ordains the rhythms in which we live. The result of all this: we are accountable to him. We will answer about our thoughts, words, and actions as to whether they be good or not.
Ever since we decided that the idea of creation was outside the realm of science, and regelated it to the naive Sunday school children’s simplistic faith, we have abandoned morality and decency in favor of our own brand of goodness and light. We’ve become too smart for God. We don’t want him to determine what is good or evil in our lives.
Holding to God’s definition of good and evil is no easy task. There are forces and enticements that push us off the path of righteousness and pull our hearts away from the source of life. Sometimes resisting temptation to the easy way, or the imagined delight is dreadfully difficult, and even painful.
But the One who created the heavens and the earth and made them very good, is himself good. He is the source of goodness and the One who brings good things to us. The first thing he brought was light. And when the light of God’s love shines in our hearts in the face of Christ, we are eternally blessed (2 Corinthians 4:6). In him is the light of life (cf. John 1:4-5). That Light is the ultimate sine qua non.
Our own brand of goodness and light and I add compassion is a dangerous thing for sure. Looking to our own understanding of things puts us in charge of our highest good. Calling something compassion that God calls sin results in death.
You are retired… you could sleep in a bit:)
Thanks Linda – such a keen insight. Thanks. As to sleeping in a bit, first of all, I just can’t seem to do that – even when I try. Second, most of the time I write in the evening and schedule it to be posted early in the day.
Best to you!