Lately I’ve been stirred to make many of my views known to the general societal public. I think the motivation, however brave it may be, is to allow others to peer into my understanding in order to, in devout hope, arrive at something that they had not known previously. I also believe that this is a time in which many are ascending higher into particular realms of influence, and, God graciously grant, that I might have an influence that forms a degree of consecration in others during such an ascension. Be it so that this blog is a blessing to you, an insight into the diverse understandings that are subject to Christian followers, and many, many others. The topic of this blog is: On Madness.
I believe the philosopher, and especially the prophet, are prone to fits of madness. Of course, when I say madness I don’t intend to entirely mean anger, although that is a nature of it, but instead I mean the consequence of mental illness, the nature of some chaotic and eccentric behavior, and often the solidarity of reason. When God equips a man’s reason, then there may be a time of development in which solidarity (I wouldn’t hesitate from saying isolation) becomes necessary. Aristotle seems to allude to the nature of this madness as an understandable point in which the human intellect and the chaotic fervor of the beast conjoin with each other:
[In order for man to live alone he must be either a god or a beast, or both, a philosopher.]
Surely we understand then that God made both gods (Jesus remarks upon this towards the religious leaders of his day, “It is written: you are gods,” John 10:34) and beast, and thus, the goodness of each. Madness then, in a peculiar enough way, is to the benefit of the man over the beast. Madness, being possessive in the natural man also, is but another advantage and sharp contrast to the beast, because the beast cannot exercise the goodness of both the natural man and the beast himself. Even the donkey, speaking with the voice of man, did not exercise his own madness (2 Peter 2:16), but rather rebuked madness! So what does man to gain from madness, if there be anything to gain at all? Do the scriptures speak of madness as good, or evil?
Undoubtedly, madness is associated with the pandering of the beast (Dan. 4:28-37; Zech. 12:4). However not altogether evil to be associated with the beast, the denotative meaning behind the scriptures’ discussion on madness is considerably wretched. Of course, the wretchedness of a thing gives some place to see the good in it, or else, how would God ever see the good in the wretchedness of us–that is, the desire to redeem such wretchedness?In the sense that madness consecrates man to the Imago Dei, then madness is good. In the sense that madness is a punishment for wrong-doing, and thereby causes man to despair in everlasting separation from God, then madness is, well, considerably evil.
Now, in view of the sanctification, consecration, and holy furnace of the trials of God, I’d like to allude the reader’s attention to the philosophical nature of God. In philosophy, the Divine Command Theory holds that an action is morally good, necessary, and sufficient if it is committed by God. In this sense, the will of God in permissively (or rather absolutely) allowing madness means that madness is, in the very least, beneficial. One would refrain from saying that madness is good, being that a virtue or vice is not necessarily entirely directly tied to the nature of Divine Command Theory, thereby directly tied to God in His sufficiency. But, does God bestow madness upon others? I believe the answer here is a resounding yes:
“In that day,” declares the LORD, “I will strike every horse with bewilderment and his rider with madness. But I will watch over the house of Judah, while I strike every horse of the peoples with blindness. (Zechariah 12:4)
Clearly we see the actions of the king Nebuchadnezzar bring about madness from the hand of God (via an interlocutor from heaven). Understandably, we realize that many actions are perpetrated by the Enemy, but nevertheless ordained by God. Too long have Christians argued in vain against the problem of evil, without ever taking into account the Supreme Sovereignty of God in the matter–submitting to the nature of free will (God allows evil because of free will) is a fine thing to say, but we must not neglect the consequences of disobeying and thereby enacting evil upon us! This evil may very well be ordained to “refine us in the furnace of affliction” as the scriptures bear out (Isaiah 48:10). Why would one ever presume there is no ordination to these grand actions? In my high estimation, to say such is foolishness.
Madness (in the good sense of the word) is grown and sanctioned through the forbidding of madness. This “forbidding of the madness of the prophet” (2 Peter 2:16) is what stands to gain–that is, the calming quench of the wrath of God. We remember the prophet Elijah, cursing the young men in his madness whereby the bears devoured the young men (2 Kings 2:23-25). Likewise we might recall the stern rebuke he probably faced. Interestingly enough, there seems to be an association of the wrath of God, through the instrument of man, in madness. This must be the relatively good sense of the word. The accompaniment of both the wrath of God, and the consecration of man to God, are the benefits of madness. Yes, and this is a comfortable feeling to entertain.
I’ll conclude with one of my favorite quotes from the popularizer and thinker G.K. Chesterton:
[It is not that the madman has lost his reason, rather, he has lost everything but his reason.]
All my love in Our Lord,