High Moon

Posted by David

I just walked outside and looked up at the Harvest Moon. It’s a dry, clear night here in Western Washington. The moon is brightening the fresh snow on the northern peaks of the Olympic Range. Jupiter shines bright accenting the pseudo-day of the high moon.  Later tonight the moon will be replaced by Venus only to be trumped by the dazzling light of the morning sun which will outshine all our other heavenly lights by many orders of magnitude.

Everything turns, cyclically. Everything in the natural order, that is. And rest assured there is a supernatural order also. We aren’t bound to life in an infinite waveform. We haven’t be given such as nihilistic fate. The natural order rests nested within and among the supernatural order, maybe like electromagnetic waveform. No, possibly like the way an electromagnetic wave is nested within and among the particle. No not like that either, only like God is to his creation.

I read an interesting comment today on an economic blog about our current state of affairs. I can’t say that I agree with him entirely. I think he’s a bit too stuck in his cyclic metaphors. The natural and human world isn’t as rigid as he thinks, but his writing made me think. Plus, I like when people think metaphorically. It can allow us to find nuggets of truth.

In his comment, Michael Clark thinks we entered a long 18 year cycle in 2001. Strauss and Howe who wrote The Fourth Turning might agree. Both seem to believe that civilization cycles throughout time. And in this cyclical nature, a population’s general mood shifts from foreboding to resting and back. This mood shift affects our culture, economics, etc. I buy this argument and also believe that a general mood shift has occurred in our culture in recent years. However, I don’t believe life to be so deterministic. Although there maybe cycles in nature, there is also the overarching foundation to life which drive the materialistic world: the supernatural order.

I use the term supernatural, not to scare you off (I’m not talking about the Ghost Busters sort of supernatural), but describe an order that goes beyond the rigid simplicity of wave patterns and orthodox determinism. The supernatural is the realm of faith.

We could look at it this way: (1) The order of the natural world is like science, one closely akin to reason and logic where a clear and precise order is based on cyclical causality (if that makes any sense). And (2) the supernatural world is simply the order of faith and love. I just had to add the love part, because faith without love is just robotics and then we’re back to determinism.

Yes, most definitely, everything in nature cycles, like Clark, Strauss and Howe describe, but all of those cycles rest on the particle of faith. Because of this, we can’t say outcomes and prognostications are as simple as these bright men have laid out. We can say that there is an order that comes and goes in waves, yet that order can come to an end. Waveforms have ends and beginnings.  There are freeze-frame terminations. There are also new beginnings which is a very refreshing thought, which is the theology of grace.

What’s going to happen 18 years from 2001? I don’t even know what’s going to happen tomorrow. I suppose I expect the moon to set in a few hours. I expect the earth will continue to turn. Thankfully, I also expect that God’s love and grace will be freshly supplied again tomorrow.

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.

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Filed under Astronomy, Christianity, philosophy

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