Actually, I don’t know that much about the hilarity of Heaven, but it sounded like a thing. In fact, I believe it is a thing, contrary to what some of you may have supposed I thought, after you read last week’s post.
I should probably state clearly, while this blog is still relatively new, that I have not the ability, inclination, nor authority to blog forth new doctrines, so when I start saying things like, “I wonder if humans ever would have found things funny if we hadn’t sinned first,” I’m doing just that: wondering. I do think that, in a loving relationship with God which I never even initiated, it’s both safe and even important to ask questions and wonder about things, and I guess I’m inviting the so inclined to wonder along with me. Part of why I do this in public is because, while I believe God’s Word is the final authority on life and practice, and that the Holy Spirit helps us to understand it over time, we need the Holy Spirit in each other to help us understand it, too. That’s part of what the Church is for…but I digress.
All that said, I can see why people might have gotten a little twitchy about that last post. For one thing, I guess it could have sounded like I was saying all humour is bad. If the only reason we can have jokes is because we sinned, and sin is not good, then does that make all jokes not-good, too–even the seemingly innocent ones? Is it a negative effect of the fall like death, and futility in our God-given work, and pain in childbirth, and lording things over each other? Of course it isn’t!
Not that any of us were there to really know, but sometimes it kind of seems like it has take the Church the better part of two millennia to acknowledge that humour can be good, and so I guess it’s not too surprising that we might get a little defensive about it. There’s enough in this world about which to be serious. It would be entirely unbearable if we couldn’t laugh some of the time.
Then, of course, there’s the other reason people might have gotten twitchy. It could have sounded like I was hypothesizing that, if humans wouldn’t have found things funny if we hadn’t sinned, and humour can be good, then maybe sin isn’t so bad? Or maybe it was good that we sinned? But that isn’t what I was saying, either. I do believe, however–and this isn’t a hypothesis or original with me–that there are things that are true about God and ourselves that we would never have been able know experientially if we hadn’t sinned.
One of those things, the thing, The Main Thing, is grace. Grace, like humour–or really, like any of God’s good gifts–can be abused or made into something it isn’t. Grace can become meted out, regulated, conditional–in which case it isn’t grace. Or it can gloss over or redefine what is, in fact, something that needs to be acknowledged for what it is. That’s not grace either.
What I know is, I’m not proud of my rebellion against God. I’m not proud of giving the authority of my life to things that aren’t Him. I’m not glad when I put myself ahead of others. But I wouldn’t have even the tiniest glimpse of the loving forgiveness that is part of the essence of who God is, if I didn’t need it so desperately.
I guess I think there’s something about humour that is part of God’s nature, too. I guess I wonder if humour isn’t itself sometimes a manifestation of His grace.