… there is an equal and opposite reaction. My physics teacher taught me this. Right? Or am I crazy and just making it up? Until my cousin KJ can clarify, I’m operating on this assumption. It’s foundational for a new theological conclusion**.

Tonight we rented Sherlock Holmes, and while Downey does portray an interesting Holmes, I must say I’m a bit disappointed with the underlying plotline. I think I remember seeing it on the latest Batman: that the good of the world cannot be good without an evil to fight against. Every Holmes needs a Blackwood; every Batman needs a Joker; every Increadible an Incrediboy; every Jack Bauer a slew of two-faced government moles.

But it’s not just true in the sense of heroes; there is something fundamental to the human condition that contrasts good and evil. It’s not until you’ve walked through the valley of the shadow of death that you can lie in green pastures. I think that’s what Jesus was getting at with the Beatitudes – each of the “blessed are the…” seems to highlight the people who know what it means to be without, at a low point – poor, mourning, weak. Until you see how little you have you don’t realize how much God offers. Those who live in the status quo are blinded to the many blessings of a life with God. Now that’s a bumper sticker: Mediocrity is blinding.

One of the classical philosophical questions of the world is “if God is good, then why did he allow evil to exist in the world?” Or… why all the hurting? Why introduce pain? Why create the mosquito? Lots of people smarter than I have attempted to answer the question. But I think physics, or Batman, can do it. Without experiencing the evil, one will never realize what is good. It’s not until you’re sick that you value how healthy you are. It’s not until you brake an ankle that you fully enjoy a good run. It’s not until you get a bad office chair that you realize how important posture is.

Our household is overcoming a bit of disappointment this evening. Not the trials & tribulation type, but disappointing nonetheless. But for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. I hope that this disappointment lights the way to greater joy when we see our prayers answered. We’ll give higher value to the good news when finally comes.

Now, stay tuned for the sister post on this topic: Every Batman has his Robin, every Holmes his Watson…

**This theological conclusion is not nearly as profound as that which I read by David Crowder & Hogan in their book Everybody wants to go to Heaven but nobody wants to Die in which they use the laws of physics – that energy cannot disappear but must go somewhere – to prove the existence of heaven. Very impressive.

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