The Law of Opposites

Karl Marx, from whom we get the natural philosophy Marxism, did not invent the “Law of Opposites.”  He merely applied it when observing nature to help his understanding.  The Marxist conclusion is “everything contains two mutually incompatible and exclusive but nevertheless equally essential and indispensable parts or aspects.”  Basic units of matter, atoms, are made up of protons and electrons which are positively and negatively charged.  They are opposite forces but work together to produce all matter.

God uses the law of opposites all throughout scripture to help us understand who he is.  Sorry Marxists,  God invented it.  A few examples are his metaphorical titles.

Lion = Lamb

Consuming Fire = Water of Life

Mighty King = Suffering Servant

We like these contrasting descriptors because they obviously all work for our good. We consent to the concept that he can be both powerful and gentle all at the same time and we marvel at the irony.  That is, until he asks us to be or do something that from our perspective seems utterly foolish and contradictory to reality.

I am in no way suggesting that you study Marx or any other philosopher.  However I do recommend you apply the law of opposites when struggling with issues God puts before us.  Particularly when He asks us to believe Him and not our common sense.  Our Pastor recently preached on James 1:2 and following.  “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.”  He shows us that the incompatible, joy and trial,  are essential for our benefit.  James’ first advice to these heavily persecuted early Christians sounds a little like that football coach saying “What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger” or that army recruiting  phrase “Pain is weakness leaving the body.”  Keep reading and you will continue to find diametrically opposed concepts, at least from man’s perspective, that James says are indispensable.

The Beatitudes, Matthew 5, are probably the most concise example in scripture of the application of the law of opposites.  This description of who the happy people are flies right in the face of any rational thinking.  I say “happy” people because that’s the best modern synonym for the older term “blessed”.  We’re talking blissful or for you more metaphysical types this is nirvana.  Christ’s recipe for this blessedness is the believers drug of choice.  Spiritual need, a realization of your sinfulness, humility and so on.  Hey, this sounds like some Buddhist monk stuff.  That’s not what that TV preacher, the guy with the great hair and big smile,  says. I digress.

Often we picture happy Christians as those who show outward signs of having been blessed.  You know who I’m talking about.  Those who seem to have it all going on. They must be doing something right to be so overflowing with goodness and light.  Certainly, they may be so spiritually mature that they are able to channel spiritual poverty, mournfulness, meekness, etc. into “Church Lady.” [Reference here to the Saturday Night Live character from my college years]  However it is likely that they believe that their own goodness is delightful.  An apparent blindness to their own faults relieves them of the need for mournfulness.  Meekness or humility in their minds is their piety in their poverty, being eager to point out how well they have sacrificed for the cause.  They are quite happy to be persecuted, just ask them, or just wait, they will eventually get to that.

Apply the law of opposites to your own condition and you may discover that God says you are the blessed and you don’t even realize it.  The state that God calls joyfulness and happiness might be the state you are in now.  Is your faith being tried and tested?  Are you spiritually weak, failing daily, always being made aware of your imperfections and need for help from your Heavenly Father?  Then God says you are the “Blessed.”  Because happiness is knowing you are broken and God is repairing you.  The more you are made aware of this the higher the high.  The alternative is that you are blind to your condition.  You continue day after day trying to be happy, maybe trying to be religious or “churchy.”  He did not say “Happy are the members of the Holy Huddle Bible Study Group,” though it sounds rational.  Therein lies the problem, opposite is not rational.

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