Breaking Good

With its final episode airing recently we heard an awful lot lately about Breaking Bad, a program that told the fictional story of a high school teacher and family man who becomes a vicious killer and cooker of meth. Like watching a car wreck we all have a morbid interest, to mix a metaphor, in moral crash landings. We click on the links that tell us of the atrocities committed by Muslims against their own Christian neighbors. Our ears perk up when the news reports about the Ohio daycare worker who committed unspeakable acts on her charge. We want to know, what could possibly make a person do such a thing?

Often we are so taken aback that we assume that the guilty must be demon possessed. We call them monsters, declare their sins inhuman. Demons, of course, are real, and evil. But we are plenty evil enough in ourselves. It does not require a demon for a man to manifest his monstrousness, the depth of his depravity. The shocking truth is that these shocking stories ought not to shock us, if we understand what we are.

We were made to reflect the glory of God. In Eden our first parents walked about as perfect, spotless mirrors. When God walked with them in the cool of the evening He saw His own reflection, and was well pleased. When Adam and Eve defied their Maker, eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, their mirrors, and every mirror that was born to them became profoundly, but not completely cracked. Every mirror, where it is mirror, yet reflects the glory of God. Every mirror, where it is cracked, however, veils, hides His glory.

God came into the garden and made an astonishing promise, that He would put enmity between the serpent and the woman, between his seed and her, that he would bruise the heel of the seed, but that He would crush the serpent’s head.

From that point forward, with the exception of the Seed, every human who would ever live would live his earthly life partly as mirror, partly as crack. What sets apart the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent, however, is two-fold. First, the seed of the serpent, when they look into the mirror, that part that yet reflects who God is, they hate it. The seed of the woman see the same reflection, but they respond in love. Both show forth the God who made us. They, however, hiss and spit, while we weep with joy, overcome by His sublimity.

The second difference flows out of the first. Because we delight in the God we see in the mirror, we labor each day to move our cracked mirror from less crack to more mirror. By the power of the Spirit, through the means of grace, our mirrors become more clear, less fractured, less besmirched, and God Himself becomes more clear to us, and through us. We become more and more what we were made to be. When we enter into our reward, every crack will be removed, and we shall be like Him. For we will see Him as He is.

The seed of the serpent, however, because they despise the God they see in the mirror, labor each day to move their cracked mirror from less mirror to more crack.  God in His grace regularly restrains them. But when He does not, they will scratch and claw at the mirror until it is dust that blows away in the breeze. They labor daily to become less and less what they were, more and more what they will be.  They are bad because they are breaking that which is good. They kill and maim believers, and the young, even the unborn, for these best reflect the One whose image they despise, even in themselves.

In the end, the new heavens and the new earth will be a hall of mirrors, billions strong. And hell will be but dust.