In the previous entry, we discovered that a definition of music based in self-effacing love must be both fully free and fully ordered. We concluded the impossibility of such a definition within a merely material world and turned instead to Jesus' teachings on the Trinity as the best available way forward. In the Trinity the full power and freedom of God inhere in each of his three Persons. And each Person eternally submits to the Other in an ordered pattern of self-giving. So freedom and order may co-inhabit one another on the transcendent plane. But how can something transcendent come to bear in the natural world?
According to the Scriptures the Triune God is both creator and sustainer of heaven and earth. First He founded creation; now He upholds it. All that exists is a prolonged act of intention, an infinitely free choice made by God according to His infinitely ordered plan. At the bedrock of reality bondage and chaos cannot properly be said to exist. They are rather what freedom and order must look like to one who has unequivocally rejected existence. That humans regularly encounter frustration and confusion in this life must betray a deep-set rejection of reality.
But how is such rejection even possible in a world suffused by the will of God? It can only be by God's radical insistence that creation be made fully distinct from Him. In a simpler model of reality—one that a human mind might conceive—the world would be something like a divine dreamscape, a mere extension or reflection of God's own will and substance. And such a world, if it had pleased God to make it, would not be inferior to our own. On the contrary, God's pleasure in such a world would make it infinitely superior to our own.
As it is God has chosen to lavish His pleasure on a world that is simultaneously distinct from and dependent on Him. Man and woman together form the principle expression of this mystery in the material world. For God offered them the choice whether to depend on Him or not. And by this He marked them with a distinctiveness shared only by the angels in heaven. Had we chosen to depend on God, our wills would be united with His own, and we would have found our ultimate end fulfilled therein. Since we have chosen instead to depend on that which is not God, we are united with nothing and have become hermetically sealed within our own wills, incapable of fulfilling anything.
If this is our state, then any measure of freedom and order we do experience can only be a gift of God’s mercy and long-suffering. And we should not expect that He will continue force-feeding us these gifts forever. His offer of a choice would be left unfinished if He did not at last provide us with what we chose. Our lives in this world until now have been but a postponement of our decision to leave it. And in that time we have reaffirmed our decision a thousand times over.
Even so God's desire for us is such that He became a man in order to make the choice we would not. The Son took on weak flesh and made Himself utterly dependent on the Father. He walked by the Spirit in perfect alignment with the Father's will. He was the only human ever to live a life in union with God. Necessarily we who rejected God had to end His life or else our own. Failing to do either would mean passive acceptance of God and a reversal of our rejection. As it happened, the man who betrayed Jesus to death would also take his own life.
After killing Jesus our time on earth should have ended. For in what starker terms could we have told God we wanted out of His world? Even those of us who didn't want Him dead were unwilling to die alongside Him, preferring life without God to death with God. Of course we should have expected that God would raise Christ from the dead, since He was the only man who ever truly desired to live. Indeed God raised Him and fulfilled in Him the end of all humanity: the entrustment of creation to a will distinct from and united to His own.
This were enough on its own to satisfy the human project. And still it pleased Christ to offer those who killed Him a share in His reward. To this day, He is pouring out His Spirit across the world, slowly undoing our rejection and uniting our wills to His own. If rejection is to persist, it must be total. For killing Christ again, were it even possible, would only result in a repetition of the same pattern of events. Anything less than total rejection must finally be reversed and made into total love.
According to Jesus' teaching, this is the world we now live in: one in which the doors of heaven are flung open upon the earth, where the transcendent and the natural may intermingle. The inner life of the Trinity is disclosed to us in Christ by the Spirit, and we are invited to participate in that life with Him. For them that choose participation the way is open for music to find its definition and fulfillment in divine love. We continue our pursuit of this definition in the next entry.