2023/02/18 #SabbathPosts

{Edited from a conversation about writing “perfect characters”.}

I believe there are truly noble people and characters. Also I believe there are perfect people, though obviously they’re rare (and not “without sin” – I’ll explain).

Some take the doctrine that “all have sinned” and “there is none that doeth good and sinneth not” to be a kind of mandatory cynicism, that they must believe everyone does small evil acts or underlying evil acts and they just aren’t seen or are all considered equal in God’s eyes. They also often categorise an exorbitant amount of faults and flaws and things (like not getting up quick enough in the morning) as moral sins to further bolster this idea, and often fall into thinking anything that is less good than another thing is therefore bad, which is of course unreasonable.

The Bible also says “they also do no iniquity” and “he that is born of God sinneth not” and “in whom is no guile”. And it tells us that unborn children have done nothing, either good or evil, yet also that we are conceived in sin. Obviously these aren’t contradictory, but rather talking about two different things.

I think it is clear that “all have sinned” and the doctrine that none are “without sin” are referring to the sinfulness of the heart; the best people understand that they are their own worst enemy when trying to do right. If they were without sin, they would have no difficulty, no struggle, no enticement of their own lust, and outward temptation would not be able to allure them at all, like Christ.

Our sinfulness is proven whenever people leave themselves without check, and of course there is the fact that you don’t have to teach children to do wrong. The sinfulness of our hearts is our fault (after all, if it wasn’t, then neither would any action be that arises from it), but those who do not indulge their sinful hearts (such as little children, who haven’t really done anything at all), are those who are the righteous, who “sin not”, and “do no iniquity”, and these are those whose sinfulness is washed away by the blood of the Lamb.

“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” – Pr 28

“Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” – Mt 18

Righteous people often commit small sins at times (sins “not unto death” as John puts it), and that also isn’t what it is talking about when it says a righteous man sinneth not. Those who break the least commandments still will enter the kingdom of heaven, though they receive less honour.

If “there is none righteous” isn’t talking about our sinful tendencies, which we must (and can) fight against and control, then we have a problem: when it expounds on this doctrine it goes on to say:

“there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: their feet are swift to shed blood: destruction and misery are in their ways: and the way of peace have they not known: there is no fear of God before their eyes.” – Ro 3

If this is not describing what we tend to, then everyone is specifically an unbeliever (thus unsaved), murderer, liar, and curser (weird that that isn’t a word 🤔); and obviously it has nothing to do with the false idea that small sins are equal to great sins in God’s eyes (which idea is to accuse God of injustice, and to give license for the heathen to mock his wrath).

I would say that the most perfect person was Moses, who was the counterpart of Jesus: “a prophet like unto me”, who was “faithful in all his house”, so that him and Christ are pictured as a house and its builder. Moses was so perfect that speaking a single sentence unadvisedly, “Must we fetch you water out of this rock?” was punished with great wrath. Others would be Noah, Daniel, Job, Samuel, Elijah, and John the baptist. Joseph is one that I often think of first.

In fiction the first one that comes to mind would be G. A. Henty’s protagonists, which are basically meant to picture what he would consider to be the best conduct in their various situations. I disagree with Henty on certain moral points (a major one would be that he sees transvestism as a joke), and his characters are rather plain, but on the whole it is good to read about his good example characters.

The first character who comes to mind that is a truly noble character, who is also interesting and endearing, would be Sam Gamgee.

(The main fault I dislike in bad film adaptation is corrupting good characters; if one sees the character as real – which is the point – then it is slander. End side note.)

Other such characters would be Puddleglum, Sybil (in Charles Williams’ The Greater Trumps), Scrooge (after his reformation), the Master Monstruwacan (in William Hope Hodgson’s The Night Land), and Beowulf.

2023/02/18 #SabbathPosts