Friday, October 31, 2008

The Theology of Monsters

I was asked to lead a devotional at work for today. Since I work for a Christian camp, and since today is Halloween I decided to base the devotional on a lecture I once heard Dave Petersen of Blaster the Rocketman give. The original lecture was given at Cornerstone 2008, and focused on the theology of monsters as it pertains to the Christian faith. The following is the adaptation I prepared for this morning devotional.

The Theology of Monsters

In Christian literature (The Bible) we see reference to many monsters, as well as implied monsters. How are we supposed to interpret passages which mention strange creatures with the faces of many animals, bodies covered in eyes, or multiple heads and horns?

I. Monster as Something Overwhelming That Man Cannot Control
Many of the references in the Old Testament of physical monsters are used in refence of something that man cannot control. Two of the most often cited are the Leviathan and the Behemoth of Job. God uses both of these animals to show Job how insignificant he is.
some examples:

Isaiah 27:1
Sea Monsters
Lam 4:3(KJV)
Malachi 1:3
Isaiah 13:2
Jer 8:17
11:8, 14:29, 59:5

II. Monster as a way God Represents Himself
Rev 4:6 starts a description of strange creatures in the heavenly realm. These creatures should be linked with Isaiah's seraphim (Is. 6:3) and Ezekiel's cherubim (Ez 1:5-25,10:1-22) Some of the characteristics of these beasts are:

in the midst of fire
protruding lightning
many wings
look like humans, but with animal faces
hoofed feet
human hands under wings
covered in eyes, front and back

Why would God choose to have such horrifying creatures be the ones to share his presence?

The creatures suggest the qualities of God
Eyes suggest exceeding knowledge
Lion-royal power


Flying Eagle-swiftness of action

III. Monstrous Diabolic
Man in his natural state may also be seen as a monster. He is like a werewolf who has no control over himself. His wicked, monstrous qualities always win. Man, by himself, always succumbs to his innermost evil desires, rejecting his creator, and perverting his creation. In this way we could see man like Frankenstein's monster. He is not the great philanthropist we would expect him to be, rather he hates his master, and even plots to kill him.

IV. Monstrous Sublime or Monstrous Exemplar
Jesus Christ, God himself, is our monstrous exemplar. He has some of the classic monstrous qualities, yet not in the diabolic, evil way we usually characterize them. He is all powerful, and rose from the dead. He command his followers to eat his flesh, and drink his blood. By his blood he redeems his people, his undead bride. The word aweful can be used of God, the one demanding awe. In scripture like Isaiah 6 when man sees God himself, he is always in fear, and aware of his imperfection. God is more terrifying than we could ever imagine. This is why Lewis makes Jesus a Lion in his Narnia chronicles, continually stating "Aslan is not a tame lion."

At last I leave you with the lyrics of a Blaster The Rocketman song

Baby Unvamp (Is Making a Comeback)
She's comin' back
She's runnin' back

But somewhere along the way
She decided to play the whore
In the mud once more
Forgotten what He shed His blood for
For her

She was burnin' with a passion fire
That soon became a mire of sin
That locked her in
Inside her self
"Thou art become (O worst imprisonment!)
The Dungeon of Thyslef."
The chains chaffed
She bled until she said
Oh God, what have I become?

"Myself my sepulchre. A moving grave."
I am a slave once more
A whore cryin' at your feet
So incomplete...

Baby unvamp is making a comeback
She's starting to run back
To the Father and the Son
The only One who loves her unconditionally
With Grace and Mercy

She clings to the Cross of Death
The Cross of Life
Her only hope
The Cross of Christ

She remembers when she first met Him
She was kickin' in a pool of her own blood
Coughin' it up
When He picked her up
She gave self up
And He raised her up

Presented her to the Father without blame
Made her His bride
Gave her His name
Erased the shame
She's not the same!

All we little unvamps
Once were sluts, were whores, were tramps
But now we are the Bride
Of Jesus Christ

She's growing
She's teething
And one day she'll bite you till you're dead!
In Christ!

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