Grace is the unseen wanderer

Grace is an ether. It is the volume that infiltrates our soul with the entirety of all the elemental kindness and generosity of a holy existence.

Grace is the frame of context we swim through and which houses, shapes, and bears the gifts of faith we inculcate in our hearts. Similar to the physics experiment which demonstrates that if we toss a ball in the air while we are on a moving train, it will not go flying past us and depart our moving relative field of perception. The ball will rise and fall into our hands because the ball too is moving at the same velocity and within the same physical realm as us. The ether which houses us is hauled by the rapid train as a container of reality, the ball included, and even those moments we toss the ball in the air when it is not in contact with the solid, fixed disturbers (our hands), it does not leave us for a different set of physical laws. This ether is like grace. Grace does not descend, it does not fill, it is not handed to us. Grace simply is. Religious people elevate grace as the basic elemental component of a beatific god. Grace is all that precedes and all that follows god and consequently, this glorious existence is infused with grace for grace is all and grace is the ether of holy existence upon which the gifts of religious beneficence are awarded to the human race.

Can the atheist know grace? In other words, does grace live in our bones or does it dart furtively in our minds? Does grace spring from our lineage, from eons of evolution, or is it breathed upon the wings of a spiritual fog that predates human consciousness? Is grace eternity?

I think the atheist can know grace, for grace is life. Grace is the monumentally stacked odds against existence, from the very unlikely occurrence of fertilization leading to a chance zygote which may eventually unfold and multiply to create the complex living system of a human being.

Grace is our unlikely existence.

Grace is our random assemblage. Grace has no mind. Grace retraces our existence and claims us as its own. And we in turn claim it as our guiding force. Grace could happily exist without us flooding this magnificently unlikely planet. Grace is mere happenstance that we have named, idealized, worshiped and deified.

The religious man paints grace with the brushstroke of godly motive and the atheist paints grace with the fortuitous appearance of coincidental building blocks of life. Grace is etched in that reality in which we are accidental passengers. Grace was the gift we stole and called our own under the pretense of ceremony.

  • Amy

    Yes, I’m in agreement with the Calvinists.

    Curiously, my grandfather, g-grandfather, and ggg-grandfather were named Calvin–apparently many of my forebears were Calvinists as well.

    • Ah. Interesting choice of words, “I’m in agreement with the Calvinists” – do you not attend a Reformed / Presbyterian / Baptist church of some kind?

      • Amy

        Well spotted. No, I am not a member of any church. Mostly because of the spouse. He was at one point a keen bible scholar and was even ordained, but petty squabbles, politics, and infighting within the church he was part of caused him a great deal of anguish and disappointment, and he is unwilling to deal with it any more. I would have to join alone, which would be awkward to say the least.

        • Ah, I see. I know all about those things; I’ve seen churches ripped apart because of them, alas…

        • Amy, it is the case many times that one or the other is not one to do the church thing. But I think maybe you should give it a try. You know, “church shopping”. UGH! I hate the term. But one does have to find a church that they feel comfortable about attending. Sometimes that is what it takes to get the other interested. Sometimes it is the “other” stuff that you can invite your husband to. You know like a dinner, something like that the church has. We have quite a few people that are like you and that does not stop them from attending church.
          And we are just in recovery over a very bad situation at our church. Almost left. We went church shopping. But we realized that we know and love so many at our church it is worth staying and fighting for.
          Anyhow, I hope that you think and pray about it and maybe you will be able to find a church sometime in the near future.

  • Well, I suppose the Godless heathen CAN have Grace occur in their life. But I do not think they accept it as such. To me Grace is one of the ultimate gifts from God. But I disagree that it just is there and that it is just hapenstance. However, I am too medicated and it is late to go into it tonight. But I’ll be back ;-)!

    • @ Mark: We Calvinists call the grace that all men receive, ‘common grace’; the sun shines and the rain falls on the fields of the Christian farmer and the non-believing farmer alike; both may be blessed materially in this world; God may give good things to unbelievers as well as believers. The difference is, such common grace doesn’t result in any spiritual blessing to an unbeliever; indeed, his ingratitude at refusing to recognize it coming from God, condemns him further.

      • Amy

        Yes. What Will said!

        • Thanks Amy!

          You’re a Calvinist, too?

      • David

        I’m very, very fascinated by the concept of grace. I want to read and learn about it more. In fact, this post was a step in that direction based on what I’ve read and little I know. I’m intrigued by the applicability of grace to the believer and non-believer alike as an eternal condition which it is up to us to make breathe as we sit fit.

        • More on common grace:

          http://www.theopedia.com/Common_grace

          The thing is, David, common grace will not save you. Special grace does, to those to whom it is granted. And special grace isn’t something you can accept or reject; if you are granted it, you will react in one way: fleeing to the Cross.

          Common grace, too, can’t be either accepted or rejected, in the sense that the sun shines and the rain falls on everyone, and you can’t do much about good ‘fortune’, nor ill ‘fortune’. However, if you are a believer, you can thank God for His divine providence, be it good or ill. If you’re not a believer, I don’t know what you can do with it, since you have nothing to which to attribute it. And like I said, it ultimately won’t do you any eternal good, even if it does you good in this life.

          • David

            I’ve been somewhat aware of the different “types” of grace, but your link was helpful in casting more light on “special grace.” I’m uneasy with this. Grace in and of itself is all we need and have. To create sub-types of grace seems to me contrived and deliberately convenient. I believe there is only one grace. Everything else you’d like to define as grace is fine but it shouldn’t be called grace.

            I think of the famous book a few years back called “When Bad Things Happen To Good People” (which I haven’t read) and I always laughed at the mirror concept of that. “When Good Things Happen To Bad People.” This is grace. “Common” grace is absolutely unfair no matter how you dice it up. To deconstruct grace a little more to fulfill your personal ideology or sense of right/wrong seems to me the line separating atheists and believers.

          • Remember, those of us who are believers have Scriptural reasons for seeing things differently; it isn’t as though we deliberately consciously invented different categories consciously, but they have been revealed in Scripture.

            But I can well appreciate how you might see us as having defined it in a way that suits our purposes.

            Of course, we could say you are doing the same thing! :)

          • David

            Very true!

            Sometimes I suspect the most elemental argument/disagreement about religion isn’t even about the existence of God.

          • Well, atheists, according to Scripture, are fools; and have historically been a minority of the global populace. People all over the world have followed religions, and have had beliefs about the divine / the supernatural; those who reject such beliefs altogether have always been a fairly small part of the populace. Now, different religions have different beliefs about who and what God is or isn’t, and how we are to relate to God, and what we must do to be right with God. This is where the conflict between religions generally lies, in having different views about God’s identity and how we are to relate to Him.

    • David

      Well I think that manner of “accepting” grace is what separate the believers and non-believers.

      For instance, the artist. He creates a painting, a novel, a sculpture…but he creates, the closest man cam come to “godliness.” He coaxes out of non-existence a creation. Is this god’s creation, or is man’s creation? Did Mozart’s music come from himself, or from grace?

      • Talents come to us from God; they are gifts. Now, they do belong to us; we can applaud the musician after a fine performance, but if the musician is a Christian, he or she will, while graciously accepting the applause (ideally), nevertheless recognize that his or her talent is a gift, and so he or she will praise God for that gift.

      • When Earth’s last picture is painted and the tubes are twisted and dried,
        When the oldest colours have faded, and the youngest critic has died,
        We shall rest, and, faith, we shall need it — lie down for an aeon or two,
        Till the Master of All Good Workmen shall put us to work anew.

        And those that were good shall be happy; they shall sit in a golden chair;
        They shall splash at a ten-league canvas with brushes of comets’ hair.
        They shall find real saints to draw from — Magdalene, Peter, and Paul;
        They shall work for an age at a sitting and never be tired at all!

        And only The Master shall praise us, and only The Master shall blame;
        And no one shall work for money, and no one shall work for fame,
        But each for the joy of the working, and each, in his separate star,
        Shall draw the Thing as he sees It for the God of Things as They are!

        – Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

      • @David. Well, Mozart was a Freemason. So you know, it is all part of the Masonic plot of worldwide domination and conquest ;-)!
        Seriously, yes I believe that Mozart’s music is from God. And he himself recognized that he is but the vessel to deliver such music.
        Will is right. The Christian accepts that he or she is doing what they are doing for the glory of God. The non-believer believes that it is all their own doing.
        When I feel a little better, I will share a story about Grace in my own life.