Thursday, August 19, 2010

Analogies of Grace

Called to Communion has a post on the bank account analogy of grace. That we owe more than we can pay and Jesus pays the debt for us. I never liked that analogy as a reformed person. It makes the discrepancy between what we owe and what we pay merely a matter of quantity. It isn't. We need something that is different in nature to close the gap.

The analogy I like is that of going to the moon. If we need to get to the moon we might try and get there by climbing trees. Maybe we could go to the top of a mountain. If I climbed a higher tree than you would I be closer to the moon. Yes and no. I would be physically, trivially closer. But I am not really closer because I am simply better at a technique that is has no chance at working. Trying to get to heaven by doing good works is like trying to get to the moon by climbing taller and taller trees. It seems like you are getting closer but there is a huge gap you have no way to bridge.It is not just a matter of distance but the type of trip required is not possible using that method.

So Jesus comes along and gives us a rocket ship. Now as a Catholic I would point out that even with a rocket ship there is a need to cooperate with the training and stay on the ship and follow the rules and such. When I was reformed I would just say you had to do nothing. Both are really true. The rocket ship provider does do all the work but you must trust him with your life and allow him to invade your personal space in a big way.

Now the analogy kind of fails because we don't belong on the moon. We belong on earth more than the moon. But we really belong in heaven. So the training we undergo is not against our nature. Like zero gravity training. We are learning to love but we are born to be lovers. But it does capture the notion that what Jesus offers us is much more than a blank cheque. It is something of a nature we could not have imagined.

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