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Imperfect Perfection

By RT --

“Be ye perfect…”

According to the bible story, the one and only perfect god made a man in his own image and likeness. Logically therefore, this would infer that man was ‘made’ at least somewhat in the image and likeness of perfection. But the story declares that this ‘perfect’ man or if you choose, somewhat perfect man, ‘sinned’ and was thereafter reduced in ‘original’ perfection and cast out of an almost perfect garden to struggle and suffer in a cursed and imperfect world.

I'm Sorry, I Can't be perfect.Image by Léoo via Flickr
Taken literally this raises some fairly obvious problems in logic.

First, can perfection make another perfection? In other words, can something with ultimate, infinite perfection make something that is exactly as perfect as ‘itself’? If something is already infinitely and absolutely perfect there cannot be another infinite and absolute perfection, otherwise that which is infinitely perfect is no longer infinitely and absolutely perfect.

Of course the story reveals that man did not share in god’s real perfection at all, as he was obviously vulnerable to ‘temptation’ and ‘failed’ as a sinner in an almost perfect ‘garden world’. I say almost perfect garden world because after all it contained an evil ‘tempter’ in the form of a snake aka devil.

Ok then, can absolute perfection make imperfection? At first it seems as though this may be possible but think again. If something is ultimately and infinitely perfect and also has the ability to create something which is imperfect, it would seem to suggest that the ‘imperfection’, even as an idea, exists somewhere in the perfect being. In other words this would suggest that the perfect being contains the potential for imperfection or at least does so in an ideological or conceptual form. After all where did the idea of evil, temptation or sin come from?

Taking the ‘god is perfect’ view, why would a perfect god, with perfect omniscience and perfect love create an imperfect being, bound to fail and then worse, blame that being for failing? This seems cruel. It certainly does not sound like the behavior of perfect love.

The story continues. The perfect god then punishes the imperfect man (and the after thought imperfect woman) for failing in the garden and sends them out into a more imperfect world. The imperfect man then has to battle all kinds of imperfections in this new ‘imperfect world’ such as storms, floods, fires, famines, diseases, birth defects, carnivorous animals, death, wars and a litany of really awful things.

As a result the imperfect man fails even more. I mean he failed in the garden with presumably perfect nurturing and a mind that couldn’t detect his own nakedness. How much more will he fail in a more failed world!

After failing in this ‘new’ imperfect world he is again blamed for failing. In addition everyone is blamed from the moment of birth for what the original man did. But how is this so if we did not choose to be born?

Eventually god had enough of imperfect mankind and so he completely wiped them out (bar one man and his family) via a gigantic flood with a slow torturous death for men, women, boys and girls. Don’t forget that animals who presumably didn’t do anything wrong are also blamed and drowned.

Perfect god starts again with a blameless man, which begs more questions. Did he get it wrong the first time round? He chooses the one and only ‘’blameless” man Noah and his family to start a new mankind. But Noah could not be blameless because he is still part of the genealogy of imperfect Adam, sent out of the garden, and a part of the generation called sinners at birth. And if Noah is the only blameless man on earth, what about his extended family?

Of course, the blameless man Noah and his sons do what comes naturally and they 'fail' in the eyes of perfect god. Noah gets drunk and one of his sons undresses him for bed (presumably out of care) but as a result is cursed forever for seeing him naked.

Mankind then continues to be blamed and punished for failing but this time imperfect mankind is not drowned by perfect god as he promised not to do it again. This also begs the question, why destroy ‘plan A imperfect man’ if ‘plan B imperfect man’ is as bad? What did it achieve? And why use a destructive flood and a slow torturous death to kill everyone and everything claiming it as an act of a perfect god and then not do it all again? I mean if it was perfect the first time round why not do it again?

Perfect god then chooses one nationality over all others to be special friends with. All other nationalities no longer matter, unless there are some lands to be conquered, kings and peoples to be murdered or virgins to be used by his special friends.

However this specially chosen nation also fails – in fact more so than other nations. This earns them extra special punishment from perfect god. After all they were special.

Finally, perfect god sends himself in the form of an imperfect god-man to rescue imperfect man forever. So he goes to the special nation chosen to be his special friends. He has to be imperfect to ‘understand’ what imperfect man goes through. But then again being perfectly omniscient he surely knows already?

The special people don’t quite get it and along with some not so special people who are ruling the land, they brutalize, torture and murder the god-man. He dies but only temporarily. (Perfect god cant really die and stay dead like us because he’s perfect even in his temporarily imperfect form). He is seen alive again three days later and then says that all we need to do is ‘believe’ in his death and be like him (even though we are not god-men like him).

All this occurs so that perfect god can punish his perfect yet temporarily imperfect son as a substitute for our crimes of imperfection. After all we cannot pay the perfect price as we are imperfect.

Now, if we believe all this, and go to church once a week, we are then rewarded with very special privileges. We get to believe that we are perfect in the eyes of the perfect god but others aren’t. An even though we still do imperfect things just like Adam, Noah, Peter, Paul and everyone else it doesn’t matter. As long as we believe the story.

This helps us to treat other humans indifferently and with prejudice and arrogance. Of course everyone sees this and we are rightly called hypocrites as a result. Also, unlike other imperfect people, we get to escape punishment for being imperfect – but not in this life. If a plane crashes into our building while we are at work we die like everyone else, even if we pray to the perfect god.

In addition, the ‘once’ special people mentioned earlier, who were once originally chosen by perfect god, have been moved aside for a new special people and receive extra special punishment in this life. When about 6 million of them were gassed to death the new special people believed it was because the once special people didn’t believe the story of the imperfect-perfect god-man sacrifice. Even though they weren’t alive then.

Finally in the next life those who believe all this get to be just like the one who got it all started in the first place. But then again, would you really want to be?