Jesus tells a fascinating (and terrifying) “parable of the talents” which concludes as follows:
Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said,
“Master, I knew you were a demanding person, harvesting where you did not plant and gathering where you did not scatter; so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground. Here it is back.”
His master said to him in reply,
“You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant and gather where I did not scatter? Should you not then have put my money in the bank so that I could have got it back with interest on my return?
“Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten. For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.
“And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.” (Mt 25:24-30)
One striking feature is how well this confirms the essence of the human condition: perpetual improvement in whatever each man is interested in, his soul included. This life requires one, as a rule, to strive for happiness and succeed. Mises puts it this way:
As long as a man lives, he cannot help obeying the cardinal impulse, the elan vital. It is man’s innate nature that he seeks to preserve and to strengthen his life, that he is discontented and aims at removing uneasiness, that he is in search of what may be called happiness.
In every living being there works an inexplicable and nonanalyzable Id. This Id is the impulsion of all impulses, the force that drives man into life and action, the original and ineradicable craving for a fuller and happier existence. It works as long as man lives and stops only with the extinction of life. (HA, 882)
I conclude my book with asking, “what is the universe for if not a process of its eternal self-improvement?”
But here I want to focus on another aspect of the parable, which is God agreeing that He “harvests where He did not plant and gathers where He did not scatter.”
This much is obvious, given the existence of nature and its secondary causes which interpose between the Father and His creatures. New humans themselves appear on earth through perfectly natural human reproduction and its genetic lottery. God does not determine the make-up of one’s body; nature does. God then must take humans as He finds them, with all the (random) defects of their nature, bodies, and — because of the intimate union of the body and soul — their spirits / personalities, as well.
So then, does God get what He can from nature and impatiently waves aside the failures? Is He a cold-blooded perfect utilitarian who ushers the successful into heaven and unceremoniously throws the human refuse that proves itself worthless into hell as irrelevant aborted “clumps of cells”? Is life survival of the saintliest?
Earlier I pointed out how unforgiving nature is, and how the Father reflects (or rather causes) this condition of our lives.
In an important book on the vitamins-as-treatment medical paradigm, Abram Hoffer et al. write:
[Bill Walsh’s] experiences led him to compare mineral levels in the hair of twenty-four pairs of brothers. In each case, one brother was a well-behaved member of society, while the other was a “boy from hell.”
The results were amazing. The hair analyses showed that well-behaved males had normal mineral levels, but the imprisoned delinquents all showed one of two abnormal patterns.
“Boys from hell” had either very high copper and very low zinc, sodium, and potassium levels in their hair or very low zinc and copper and very high sodium and potassium.
In addition, the delinquents also had lead and cadmium levels that were three times greater than those of their well-behaved siblings. (Niacin: The Real Story, Ch. 8)
If the behavior of these boys was influenced (though not caused) by their bodily chemistry, such as poisoning by heavy metals, it seems improper to condemn the boys from hell to hell for moral flaws that flowed from something as obviously irrelevant to the fate of their immortal souls as unusual mineral ratios in their systems. Can God really be so callous as to condemn to eternal horror people whom fully to cure physically and improve morally would take nothing more difficult than prescribing a cheap nutritional supplement?
Are we toys whom God casually tosses aside when they no longer amuse Him? It seems unbecoming of the goodness of God to give up on us so easily.
And that’s precisely why the history of the world from the point of view of God is incomplete without the other 2 persons of the divine Trinity, the Holy Spirit and the Son.
We can go even further and affirm that without these two, literally no one would get to the Father, who wants absolute metaphysical and moral perfection from us. The human project would be a 100% failure without (1) grace and progress in charity and (2) forgiveness of sins.