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Monday, July 25, 2011

Luke 18,31-43. Quinquagesima. Henric Schartau

Luke 18,31-43
Henric Schartau (1757-1825)

I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it is accomplished!

1. (97) Thus Christ our Savior speaks in a parable about His impending suffering. The parable is taken from the custom of that time of completely immersing the person to be baptized. The Savior means to say that just as on e baptized is covered with water, so He must be covered with sores and wales and bathe in His own blood. The words are recorded in Luke 12,50.

2. After the great, lamentable misfortune of the fall into sin, an could be saved in only one way: the Son of the living God must become a true man and submit to suffering and death for His brethren, the poor children of Adam, whose nature and fashion He assumed. His whole life was one of suffering. The weaknesses and infirmities of our nature, which He had taken upon Himself, were a constantly oppressive burden, and the poverty and wretchedness to which He had freely submitted on our behalf were sources of unceasing affliction.

3. Still this was not sufficient for the redemption of the fallen race. The wearisome life which the Savior led in this world terminated with still more grievous suffering, (98) with the most severe pains, and with death itself. Jesus foresaw the inevitable. He knew that the poor human race could not be saved by any other means than the strictest payment and the bloodiest atonement. As a true man, with human feelings, He shuddered at the gruesome anguish and agony and the dreadful pains which He must suffer. But He did not hesitate in the least He had resolutely determined with His Heavenly Father to save the sinful world. The great work of redemption could not by Him be called in question. On the contrary, the Savior longed to finish it, though it had to be done by the most grievous shedding of His blood. “I have a baptism to be baptized with,” He says, “and how I am straitened till it be accomplished!”

4. It is considered to be something great and excellent, when a person calmly submits to the inevitable. It is considered to be an evidence of great friendship, when some one lovingly and freely takes upon himself to endure the hardships of another. But to long for the greatest pains merely in order to save others -- this is an entirely Divine love, shown by no one except our Divine Savior.

The Great Love of Our Savior as Manifested in His Suffering for Us

I. The great love.
II. How we should reciprocate this love.

First Part. (99)
The Great Love.

5. The love of Jesus is great, for He is great who has loved us. It is a great act of friendship, when a man is willing to suffer for another, and it becomes greater, the more exalted and noble the person is who thus suffers for the other. It is, then, the very greatest love, when the most exalted God Himself has been pleased to suffer on our behalf. Our Savior is also true God, the Son of God, by whom all things are made. In His Divine nature He is immutable, and hence exalted above suffering; but He became a man in order that He might, in HIs human nature, suffer and die for us. God, who is the Highest, desired to thus humiliate Himself and to bear the punishment for our sins. The Almighty, whose power is manifested in the creatures, from the largest, who frighten us with their bigness, to the least, who by reason of their smallness escape our vision, God whose wisdom is portrayed in every flower of the field and in every blade of grass trampled under our feet, was “delivered unto the Gentiles. He was mocked, scoffed at, spitted upon, scourged and crucified.”

6. The love of Jesus Christ shown us in His suffering is great, for we, the objects of that love, are small and quite inconsiderable. The Creator has been pleased to suffer for those created by Him, indeed, for creatures who had not remained in the perfection which they had received at His hands, but had fallen into the most nefarious wretchedness and the most horrible wickedness. When a great general falls in battle, it is customary to erect a monument to his memory, bearing the inscription (100) that he died for his beloved fatherland. Indeed, it is true that he died for his brethren and friends at home, but Jesus did much more: He died for His enemies. The Apostle Paul has therefore erected the following memorial to the once crucified Savior: “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for the good man some one would even dare to die. But God commends His own love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” The greatest Love has died for His enemies, the Holy God for such as were an abomination in His sight, the Righteous God for those who had greatly offended Him.

7. The love of Jesus, shown us in His suffering, is great, for the suffering which He endured was great. He was tightly bound when delivered to the Gentiles. He was buffeted by those who mocked Him. He was bent down toward the earth and scourged. Taunts and jeers followed Him to the cross. His patient silence did not deter His enemies from following Him with their mockery to the very end. And yet His physical suffering can scarcely be compared with His mental agony, for the Son of Man endured anguish unto the sweating of blood and unto the pains of hell, even to the extent that He was forsaken by God. This is what the Son of Man suffered for us, until He gave the greatest evidence of His love by dying for us. Though a friend may sacrifice much for another, he nevertheless saves his own life, as the dearest of all. When a friend loves unto death, love can go no further. Jesus has given evidence of such love, as He also avers, “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

8. The love of Jesus, shown in His suffering, was great, (101) for great was the distress from which He delivered us. Look at your life. Consider what you have done. Judge what you have merited. Howe would you fare, if you had noSavior? What would be your lot at the end of your life? Hell would be gaping to devour every soul on departing hence, if Jesus had not “ransomed them from the grave and redeemed them from death.” He assumed the debt and paid it. The guilty debtor need not now be delivered into the hands of the executioners until the debt is paid. Jesus has endured the punishment for sinners, and they may be spared. God reveals His righteousness by faith unto them who live by faith, “passing over the sins done aforetime, in the forbearance of God.” It was through His death that Jesus “brought to nought him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,” and delivered them who before had been in the service of sin and subject to the bondage of Satan.

9. The love of Jesus, shown in His suffering is great, for great is the glory which is thereby secured. “Him who knew no sin He made to be sin on our behalf; so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Every one converted from the service of unrighteousness unto faith in Jesus Christ becomes righteous, for His fulfillment of the law is attributed unto every one who “believes on Him that justifies the ungodly.” When a person becomes thus justified by faith, he obtains “peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” He enters into union with Christ, who lives in such a person, and for whom to live is Christ. He may indeed rarely experience the full comfort of his justification and the joy of his election, but he nevertheless looks (102) with patience for the “rest who remain for the people of God,” and he fights the good fight, confidently hoping to gain the imperishable crown of glory.

Second Part.
How We Should Reciprocate the Great Love, Which the Savior Has Shown Us in His Suffering.

10. He that has received open eyes of understanding, anointed with eyesalve, enabling him to rightly evaluate the Savior’s love, must, in the first place, consider the suffering of Jesus greater than all his sins. If Jesus is greater than you, then His payment is also greater than your debts. He is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world. A grievous suffering like His cannot be in vain for any one who rightly wishes to appropriate its blessings. The powerful fetters of Satan cannot avail against so mighty a Redeemer. He is the stronger One, who overcomes the strong enemy; “He takes from him his whole armor, and divides his spoils.” Honor, then, your Savior as He deserves to be honored. Acknowledge Him as the mighty Savior that He is, and do not make of yourself an exception to His unlimited redemption. If He has borne the burden of your sins, then lay them down at His feet, and if He has opened the dungeon of darkness, you should no longer remain in your wretchedness, since the Son of God offers to make you free indeed.

11. If you have been set free, thank Him for your deliverance and render unto Him praise for your redemption. As a bird escaping from the trap, immediately, on the very first branch where its feet find rest begins to chirp its song of gladness over its deliverance, and as (103) a prisoner, losing his fetters, stretches out his hands to his deliverer, thanking him for his new-won liberty, so likewise should every saved soul, when the snare is broken and he is set free, raise his voice in praise to his Savior and lift high his arms to glorify his Redeemer. All creatures praise Him as their Creator; surely, then, man should glorify Him as Savior. “The heavens declare the glory of God,” every bird pipes its own lay to His honor, every brooklet ripples its gladsome voice in acknowledgement of Him who guides its course. Should not man, then, praise Him the more -- man, whom He has saved from the greatest distress? Though weakness constrains his voice and destruction fetters his tongue, he should nevertheless, standing on the shore of the deep waters of misery, praise God for his salvation and join with the Church triumphant, “saying with a great voice, ‘Worthy is the Lamb that has been slain to receive the power, and riches, and wisdom, and might, and honor, and glory, and blessing.”

12. If Jesus has given Himself in death for you, you should give yourself to Him. Though you are only a poor and wretched creature, give Him your heart. It is a small reward for the great labor which He has had to save you from your sins. Since He willingly assumed the fashion of a servant on your behalf, you should feel in duty bound to serve Him all the days of your life. He showed you such love while you were yet His enemy, and therefore you should feel all the more constrained to love Him, when the love of God has been shed abroad in your heart. St. John says, “We love, because He first loved us,” and again, “This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments.” Since Jesus (104) has been pleased to suffer in expressibly much for you, should not you be willing to suffer a little for Him? Of what consequence is the slight disgrace caused you by the world in comparison with the shame which the Son of God must suffer to save you from eternal death? “Consider, therefore, Him who has endured such gainsaying of sinners against himself, that you wax not weary, fainting in your souls.” If Jesus suffered, bearing His cross and your heavy burden of sin, you should not deem it grievous to deny yourself, and take up your cross, and follow Him.


13. Such, O man, is the love which your Savior has shown you. Where,then, is the love which you should show HIm in return? Are you not one of those concerning whom the Lord complains: “They have rewarded Me evil for good, and hatred for My love.” You know that He hates an ungodly manner of life, but you persist in living thus. You know that intentional sins provoke Him to anger, and still you continue to violate His commandments. Do you not fear that the wrath of the Lord Jesus will, upon His final coming in judgment, prove quite as great as the grace shown at His first advent and birth? Alas! How can it be otherwise? His righteousness must be quite as infinite as His mercy. How shamefully you change His grace into opportunity, license,and boldness to sin! Jesus has redeemed you, but you again give yourself into bondage. (105) Jesus has bought you to be His own, and you have surrendered yourself to the power of Satan. Wretched creature, how do you treat yourself? Jesus has shown you love, but you act as thought you were your own worst enemy. You cast yourself into the misery from which Jesus has saved you. You thoughtlessly neglect the salvation which He has procured. Who shall save you, if you thus persist until the hour of death to neglect so great a redemption? who shall be able to bless you, if your Savior who has procured salvation for you has been neglected during your lifetime, and if in your death you have been by Him eternally condemned? Truly, there is no other Savior than He. When He shall no longer be a Savior, but throughout eternity a judge and an avenger, what can you expect but judgment, condemnation, and eternal pain?

14. If your sins sicken your heart, if Satan is threatening you, and if you fear death, then know that you are redeemed. Learn to know it more and more in the words of life, and pray God that you may be enabled to believe it with certainty and assurance in your heart. Your sins shall then be forgiven, just as surely as Jesus has made payment for them, and you shall be delivered from the power of darkness, just as surely as He has redeemed the world. You shall be clad in His eternal righteousness when you put off the defiled garments of your own righteousness. The righteousness of Jesus shall become, not only your everyday attire, in which you shall walk securely through this earthly vale of misery, but also your festal garb, in which you shall be able to stand before Him on the great day of His arrival.

15. But remember that when Jesus has received you to be (106) His own you cannot longer live unto yourself. All that you have belongs to Him and should be submitted to Him, sacrificed for His service. Do not become a backslider, who believes for a while, but falls away in times of temptations. Seek your comfort in His love alone, your enlightenment in His word, and your hope in His righteousness. Then shall your love to Him, kindled in your heart by the gospel of His love, be fanned in to a brighter flame and increased by that same love of Christ. If you love Him who has first loved you, you must also love them that He has loved, for “if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” Take His yoke upon you, and learn of Him to be meek and lowly in heart. You shall then, in childlike innocence, enjoy the peace of children, and though this peace be disturbed by the threats of Satan, it shall not fail, but rather be translated into the beautiful “rest that remains for the people of God.” The comforts of the Holy Spirit, though here often covered with the miseries of this life, shall be changed into eternal joy. It is the Eternal who has procured this for you, and the righteousness which He has given is also external. “Even as He is risen from the dead, and lives and reigns to all eternity. This is most certainly true.” Amen.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Matthew 13,1-23. Midsommardag. Henric Schartau

Matthew 13,1-23 (Schartau doesn't list the text, but this is the context of his sermon)
Midsummer Day
Henric Schartau (1757-1825)


1. (107) When a sinner has been awakened and the eyes of his understanding have been opened to see hat he has been on an evil way, he also becomes aware that an innumerable multitude is found on that same way to perdition. When his heart has thereupon found peace, and when his soul has found assurance that he is on the way of live, then he looks about himself with a keen eye to find a few hidden Christians, and he listens attentively for the speech that might perchance betray a secret disciple of Jesu, whom he might get as his companion. He finds, however, that the multitude is concerned about earthly gains and worldly pleasures, that a great number of those who appear to be somewhat different are in error, merely having the appearance of godliness, while only a very inconsiderable number “work out their salvation with fear and trembling.”

2. His experience, then, agrees with the words of the Savior, that they are few that find the way of life. Indeed, he sees that the number of those who ruse to perdition is even larger than he had at first supposed. His heart is moved with amazement, mortification, and pity, and he wonders why so many people are thus unfortunate. Has not the Son of God made a sufficient (108) payment, and are not His merits valid for all? Has not God in His Word shown Himself concerned about the salvation of all men, and has not His Word wrought mightily in those who have been moved thereby? The real reason for the deplorable stat of affairs is none other than that which Jesus charged against Jerusalem, “How often would I have gathered your children together … and you would not!” Nevertheless, this contrariness appears in so many ways and in so many different conditions that we have reason to say that there are many obstacles that would hinder people from entering upon the way of salvation. I have thought of mentioning seven of the most important of them, since it is impossible to count them all, not to say, describe them all. If some one, then, has in mind to get saved, though he has not yet begun to seek salvation in earnest, it is, indeed, very important to know the obstacles which would hinder him from accomplishing his purpose. It may be that you will recognize in some of the obstacles which I am going to mention the reason why all the grace of God shown you has hitherto been fruitless. It is very necessary for you to learn to know this, in order that you may with all hour heart endeavor to have this obstacle removed, lest you lose your inheritance of eternal joy.


3. O God of infinite love, it is Your will that all men should be saved; You have not laid any obstacles in the way; You can and You will remove the obstacles which originate from ourselves and our spiritual foes. Teach us by Your Word to know that which still (109) restrains us, and make us deeply concerned, by Your gracious help, to have removed the obstacle which would hinder our entrance and progress on the way of salvation. “Our Father,” etc.


4. God commands His servants to comfort His people, which He had chosen and redeemed. First, He gives the assurance that the time of deliverance was approaching from the Babylonian captivity and from sins by the fulfillment of the redemption in Jesus Christ. Secondly, He testifies that they already had the forgiveness of sins and a blessing twice as great as the curse which they had brought over themselves by their sins. Thirdly, John the Baptizer, the precursor of Jesus, was to instruct the people of the New Covenant how to accept the Savior of the world upon His coming in human flesh. To this end, the obstacles in His way must be removed, in order that Jesus might find free entrance in to the hearts of sinners. Whereas it is necessary in the very first instance to know the obstacles which are to be removed, I shall present the following.

A few of the worst obstacles in the way of a true conversion

5. 1. Gross ignorance is as great an obstacle in the way of a true conversion as a great mountain is where a new road is to be made.

6. Ignorance is very great among some people. They do not know the basis of their salvation, nor how they (110) shall be saved, and still less how they are to rightly use the means of grace. The matter of salvation is quite foreign to them. They are not used to the Word of God. It is, then, not strange that they do not understand what is being preached, nor that they remain quite as unmoved as if they could not hear. Hence, these people live and die with the most pitiable and unreasonable conceptions of the fear of God. They depart as if by chance. They suppose that, since they do no more evil than they feel constrained to for their livelihood, and since they go to church occasionally and even participate in the Lord’s Supper twice a year, they surely can go nowhere else than to heaven. But it is quite as impossible to have faith in God before one knows Him as it is to travel across steep mountains before a road is made. It is impossible to come to heaven before one knows the way thither, and to escapes from hell if one has never been concerned about it.

7. 2. Another obstacle, quite as great, arises, when a person gives way to his natural antipathy. A feeling of repugnance to religious matters is found among all people. It is subdued by the first movements of grace, but Satan is a past master in the art of quickening it anew. It could be conquered, if you carefully guarded the grace received and made room for it in your heart, if you used the power thus received to fight against yourself. Unless you do so, you will soon grow weary of the Word; its representations become repugnant and later unbearable. You will not accept them, and, for no other reason than this, that you do not wish to, that it is repugnant to you. In this way your condition will (111) not improve, for God does not force His grace upon anyone,m and no one will be converted against his will.

8. 3. Some who have been visited by grace are immediately overcome by their sinful habits and by the power of evil desires. This obstacle is in comparison with the two former like a hill over against a mountain, but a hill can be a very ugly hindrance in the way. While sinners are being moved by the Word, their lusts are subdued and, as it were, removed, but the forces of grace are not always equally active. After a time of great activity they frequently subside, leaving a person to himself. Then new incentives and opportunities to sin make their appearance. The lusts are again awakened and rise to their former intensity. The perceptions of grace, tears, longings, and determinations disappear as though they had been mere dreams. The sinner is overcome and laid prostrate in sin, leaving not the slightest trace of the grace which had wroght so mightily in his heart, and he cannot conceive the possibility of any other condition.

9. 4. Some are so entangled in the world that they cannot extricate themselves. Their condition is like that of one traveling over a region filled with rolling hills. There are constant ups and downs, and ere one such experience ends another begins. Sometimes they are possessed with the advantages of earthly prosperity, and then again they are busy endeavoring to overcome the difficulties of adversity. They scarcely catch sight of anything better in the Word, nor become convinced of its necessity ere something turns up, hindering them from pressing onwards. Shortly after their return home from church and, indeed, frequently before they (112) have time to lose the book they are reading at home, something happens that must be attended to something invites their attention from the heavenly and invisible verities back down to things visible, something occupies the room in their heart, where the Word of God was about to take root. Sometimes it is their friends and comrades in vanity who attract them back to their evil ways. The sinner finds it quite impossible to refuse to follow and in their company he soon gets far away from the narrow gate of repentance and from the true way of life which he had so nearly approached., Here is verified not only the word of Jesus concerning the rich, “How hardly shall they that have riches enter in to the reign of God,” but also the saying of Paul concerning those who indeed are not rich but would love to be wealthy, “/They that desire to be rich fall in to temptation and a snare and any foolish and hurtful lusts, such as drown men in destruction and perdition.”

10. 5. Some are hindered by cowardly weakness. They fear the pangs of contrition, which they imagine to be very grievous. This obstacle may be compared with the valleys mentioned in our text. Those who are in this way hindered from conversion experience a sense of dizziness like those who are about to descend into a deep valley. They see only the depths, and it appears as thought they are about to fall therein, though, if they proceed, step by step, they would soon,without any harm, arrive at the bottom. This hindrance often comes from a too lenient bringing up in the home. Their parents may have spoiled them form early childhood carefully shielding them from everything which might have caused them grief. Some look upon sorrow (113) as the greatest calamity which can happen to them and, hence, studiously avoid everything which might make them sad. The unconverted often entertain the preconceived notion that conversion begins with despair and is followed by unceasing anxiety. This prejudice easily finds entrance into weak souls. If they experience any sorrow over their sins, they look upon it as the precursor of something worse. They therefore make haste to get rid of it and are very much concerned, lest they again come into such a condition. Yes, even though they know y their own experience or by information that the discipline of grace is very moderate, it nevertheless seems too grievous for them. The present is everything to them, and the future seems to them as non-existing. To escape “godly sorrow,” they proceed along the way that leads to eternal “weeping and gnashing of teeth,” They choose to taste the bitterness of eternal death, “where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched,” rather than to endure the feeling of sinful depravity for a season.

11. 6. Some have gotten into the habit of considering everything frivolously. They cannot entertain the first impression of grace long enough to attain stability. Their mind and behavior resemble the crooked roads in our text,which slant from one side to the other an often cause the traveler to fall. Some people do not adhere long to one thing, but grasp for something else,and they never take anything in earnest. They consider it all as trivial. Such minds are easily touched by the Word, but their emotions quite as easily vanish away. If everything pertaining to conversation could be finished during the brief moment while (114) emotions last, they would be converted, but they cannot bear to take the matter under more serious and prolonged consideration. They scarcely have time to wipe their tears away, ere their minds take flight to something quite different and their thoughts wander far away from the reign of God. While they thus dance about the brink of eternity, they unexpectedly fall into its depths, pass unprepared out of time, and proceed with laughter and jesting to the place of torment.

12. 7. Some are hindered by their egotism, false timidity and fearfulness of men. They are like men journeying along a stony road full of jutting unevenness. They constantly become hurt and wounded and eventually grow tired and weary. When the Word is preached aright it happens even today, as it did when Jesus Himself taught, as we read in John 12,42, “Even of the rulers many believed on Him, but they did not confess it, lest they should be put out of the synagogue.” They wish to be Christians, but in such a way as cannot long endure. They do not wish to confess their Savior’s Name before the world, but desire to be disciples in secret. The sneer of the world for the confessors of Jesus hurts their ambition. Hence, they wish to have their Christianity concealed in their hearts to their own satisfaction, but they do not wish to have it revealed in their outward behavior to the glory of the Savior. They take care lest any one might see them reading the Word of Go or find them engaging in prayer. They are thus frequently hindered from Scripture reading and prayer, because they do not wish to let any one see it. They are often tempted to feel ashamed of Jesus, and so they make themselves deserving (115) of the punishment which will be their lot; for Jesus says, “The Son of Man shall also be ashamed of them, when He arrives in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” Occasionally they come into quite as dangerous a position as that of Peter, when, like him, they wish to be in the palace of the high priest without being known as belonging to Jesus of Nazareth. It may then happen that, upon being addressed by the men of the world, and in order to escape from their taunts, they blush and stammer something like Peter, “I know not the man.” Alas, before the secret work of grace in them can grow in power, as in the case of Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, finally breaking forth in action, it may be choked to death like an infant covered too well. At any rate, they continually become hurt and wounded on so uneven a way, and some grow weary with it all. Like Pilate they consider it quite impossible to set Jesus at liberty if they cannot do this with the consent of the worldly-minded. They excuse themselves, wash their hands in water, and blame others whose behavior they imagine relieves themselves of all responsibility.


13. Have you among all these obstacles described recognized that which has hindered you from a true conversion, and can you nevertheless allow this hindrance to remain in your way7? If so, how are you going to reach the gate of heaven? If you wish to be hindered from entering the reign of God, does not this imply that you wish to be lost? “No,” you say, “I wish to be saved.” Yes, but you wish to retain such matters as of necessity must hinder you from coming to heaven. You (116) are quite willing to escape from hell, but you persist in proceeding on the way that surely leads thither. You entertain the very largest and most difficult of all obstacles, namely intentional obstinacy and a persistent and willful opposition.

14. Are you grieved at heart in perceiving what has hindered you from repentance and do you fear that it might continue to hinder you, then you may know that God’s quickening and calling grace can overcome all obstacles. Be careful to retain this grace which is working in you. Make haste to take refuge in prayer and in the use of the Word, and consider further with yourself that you have received grace to understand your spiritual condition. As the Lord has removed the obstacles which lay in the way of your awakening, so He will also help you through all the difficulties which always meet awakened souls and keep them for some time from faith and the forgiveness of sins.

15. If you have passed beyond all these obstacles also, you must consider that there are many obstacles even on the way of salvation, which would hinder your progress thereon and prevent your growth in grace. You must not, then, be careless and negligent, if you are to attain to stability ind grace and remain steadfast in the faith. See to it “that you may attend upon the Lord without distraction.” Let nothing hinder you from hearing Him speak to you in His Word, nor let anything prevent you from speaking with Him in prayer. Let nothing exclude you from appropriating Him in Holy Communion. Then you shall, in spite of all obstacles which meet you, “in all these things be more than conquerors through Him who loved you.” Amen.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Rise of Original Sin

In the past four days I have seen two trailers on TV for the early August release of "Rise of the Planet of the Apes". The movie seems to be a reboot of the "Apes" movie franchise, this one focusing on the origins of intelligent apes, and thus harkens back to "Conquest of the Planet of the Apes" (1972) which also delved into how Apes became intelligent and conquered the world. (I note that I have all the "Ape" movies and the TV series on DVD: I am a sci-fi guy.)

In one sense, I find it humorous that the protagonist in the original and this reboot is a chimpanzee named Cornelius who leads his monkey brothers and sisters in revolt against humans. In the original, it came about that humans had enslaved apes as manual labor after a disease had wiped out all the dogs and cats. Whether this reboot will focus on this slavery issue is unknown. The trailer indicates that Cornelius is upset that his monkey brothers and sisters are in cages and seeks revenge against those who have imprisoned them. It is humorous because Cornelius detests human treatment towards apes, but in the real ape world of the jungle apes clearly fight one another in fights over food, territory, and mates.

What this brings to mind, however, is the Christian doctrine of original sin. In the original movies, and the reboots, mankind's innate sinfulness has lead to specific sinful actions that have lead to the apes rising up against their oppressors. The whole theme of original sin is a timely theme to explore especially in the early 21st century where too often sin and its origin is pushed to the side and rarely dealt with in a meaningful manner. Let's be honest: people don't like to think about sin and sin's consequence (which ultimately is death).

Much like in the "Apes" mythology that sinful actions lead to dire consequences, so too does original sin lead to deathly consequences. The entire Bible reveals how God will deal with the problem of sin that has spoiled His perfect and holy creation. Sin is mankind's problem: Adam brought it upon us by heeding the temptation of the devil. God, then, promised a savior, and unfolded this salvation history (Heilsgeschichte) in human history. "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" will probably end on a dire note where humans have come under the rule of Cornelius and his intelligent apes. That's how the "Apes" movies predictably end, as they are 70s disaster-theme films. The end result for mankind in this real world is far different: original sin will be overcome at the return of Christ on the last day when sin, death, and the devil are finally and completely triumphed over by the crucified and risen Jesus Christ. The Rise of Eternal Life will then begin.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

The Last One: STS-135

Shuttle Atlantis is now in orbit around the Earth. In eleven days her mission will end, and so will the Shuttle Program. What next?

It is time for private industry and private corporations to step up to the plate and take us farther than any national space agency can. When I was a boy, I had imagined that by 2011 we would have people (not scientists) living in space, orbital hotels, orbital flights from New York to Tokyo in 2 hours, colonies on the Moon, and mining of the asteroids, and imminent colonization of Mars. We are a long way off from those lofty childish dreams.

As private industry gets its space legs, mankind will disperse into the solar system. When investments start returning dividends both monetarily and technologically, then we will see a boom in space development. Perhaps now that the Shuttle Program is about to conclude, Boeing, Martin Marietta, and other groups will turn the corner, and the page, to usher in an even more exciting era of space entrepreneurship than NASA ever did.

NASA must decrease and private industry must increase if we are to obtain The Right Stuff in the 21st century.