Expect a big laugh here. And so on. Jonathan Edwards began his Colonial Era fire-and-brimstone sermons with a few cheery gags, history remains curiously silent. Even our great-grandparents, capable of hilarity at appropriate times, may have been puzzled and disapproving. Moreover, whenever God appears in the Old Testament, men throw themselves on the ground and tremble; hardly in the mood for jokes, even if God had some doozies.
The subtler joke may be that because we now expect laughs in everything, we find true merriment in less and less. Examples of Hittite or Ancient Hebrew humour, Chesterton said, are comparatively scarce but surely existed. Yet attempts to define humour have been mostly ineffective. Socrates, via Plato, thought it lay in mocking the defenceless weak: they would have loved Helen Keller jokes but not much else.
Freud thought it vented dangerous psychological pressures. Closest to truth may be Max Eastman, a fascinating figure who, en route from being a firebrand Bolshevik to an anti-communist free-marketeer, thought that humour was based in incongruity and surprise. In his The Enjoyment of Laughter, he noted that a baby reaches for something held out to her, and then laughs when it is unexpectedly pulled away.
She shifts from expectation to surprise at an equally rational but unforeseen alternative, namely that the item was never intended for the baby. This theory of erroneous expectation even works for puns, switching between two possible meanings. Chesterton adds celebration of the underdog but seems to concur about incongruity and surprise, as all three work from erroneous expectations. Who would expect David to beat Goliath, or Jerry the cartoon mouse to outwit Tom the cat?
In Brittannica Chesterton continued:. And this example is worth noting; as representing what is really the fun of all the fairy-tales; the notion of something apparently omnipotent made impotent by some tiny trick. This fairy-tale idea is undoubtedly one of the primitive fountains from which flows the long winding stream of historic humour.
Late in his life, Charlie Chaplin was asked how one would film the now tired comic staple of someone slipping on a banana peel. First show a stout and haughty woman laden with packages, striding purposefully along the sidewalk, he explained. Then show the banana peel; then cut back to the woman barrelling on. She steps right over the banana peel, Chaplin suggested, and she falls down an open manhole! Past dreams of grandeur and present proof of failure are conveyed simultaneously in one forlorn clown.
Thus false expectations work for Eastman, Chesterton, Chaplin and Sheen. He laughs at Man who is the carbon-copy and calls himself the original. Sheen says God laughs at our false expectations or fraudulent expectations purveyed to others. Thus God may find humour in our false expectations, but through vicarious experiences taken from our own mortal senses.
His creatures may be His lenses. Made in His image, we take the same vicarious experiences from cinema, falling in love alongside of the hero or heroine, laughing with and at the drunkard, fearful of the assassin lurking behind the curtain. Loving humans especially, He may bore the poor angels as He repeatedly watches Adam and Eve first see a giraffe and collapse in giggles at its improbable neck. Again and again, He may rise up out of His seat and cheer when you yes, you triumph over temptation; and He may roll with laughter when I am too drunk to find the key to my front door.
In one moment we can laugh both at something and with it. For God, who loves and shares with unique intensity throughout Time and Space, among billions of His creatures, the vicarious experiences could be powerful indeed. It could make God the greatest humorist of all. Yet this speculation hides a mighty risk.
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If divine laughter occurs in the long process of a man losing his soul for all eternity, then God is unspeakably cruel. But this defies love and logic. We didnae ken! The solution may come from the late and celebrated Catholic theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar , who pronounced us welcome to believe that God pardons all souls at the end of Time and brings everyone into Heaven, but that the concept is too presumptuous to insist upon or preach. Then each and every human sin will lead to knowledge, repentance, penance and forgiveness.
Then God is free to laugh at everything, even our mistakes and sins, knowing that the biggest ever production, released by the divine and ultimate Universal Studios and not the motion-picture company, has a happy ending. Then His whole creation can sit at His feet and watch in mirth and good conscience, leaving angels, I suppose, to make the popcorn.
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A further possibility arises from the best joke in the world, which nevertheless defies full analysis. It is comical yet unexpectedly sensible; while as you think deeper it grows funnier, more surreal and even mysterious.
It inhabits a strange borderland between the rational and irrational, like much of life itself. Walking down a narrow lane, a man notices a tiny shop where the window is crammed with wristwatches. Needing a new watch, he enters and asks to buy one. What would you put in the window? What indeed? Anything literal would be appalling. Something else as incongruous as watches?
Why do we look in windows and start making assumptions, and do we continue throughout life itself? Do seemingly random acts imply a hidden purpose? Expectations, surprises and incongruities increase line by line. The elusive joke poses many riddles, mostly unanswerable for now, and at the end we are left alone with the gift of laughter.
If He loves us so much, how could He not have a sense of humour? He may even share varieties of humour presently beyond our mortal comprehension. For now, only imperfectly do we see what God puts in His window, while Paradise waits behind the door. A brilliant and soulful essay, Steve. All the proof I need. Where Ms. Martha argues in favor of a reality where the Knowledge of God, is deep and wide, and mostly unknown, albeit we have guides, limitations, and parameters, some inherent.
You lost me in the frivolity of the final sentences. God is the friend of silence. See how nature - trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence We need silence to be able to touch souls. Mother Teresa. Nature Stars God Silence. Every day I feel is a blessing from God.
And I consider it a new beginning. Yeah, everything is beautiful. Beautiful Morning Day Blessing. Your talent is God's gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God. Leo Buscaglia.
Laughter in the Bible? Absolutely! - Biblical Archaeology Society
Motivational God You Gift Talent. I am blessed to have so many great things in my life - family, friends and God. All will be in my thoughts daily. Lil' Kim. Life Family Thoughts God. Through hard work, perseverance and a faith in God, you can live your dreams. Ben Carson. Hard Work Work Dreams Faith. I walk in a space of gratitude.
I'm so grateful to God for blessing me with an amazing family and the opportunity to do what I love. Jurnee Smollett-Bell. Love Family Blessing Me. All things are artificial, for nature is the art of God. Thomas Browne. Nature God Art Things. I always had a philosophy which I got from my father. He used to say, 'Listen. God gave to you the gift to play football. This is your gift from God.
If you take care of your health, if you are in good shape all the time, with your gift from God no one will stop you, but you must be prepared. Good Father God Time. Mental prayer in my opinion is nothing else than an intimate sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with Him who we know loves us.
The important thing is not to think much but to love much and so do that which best stirs you to love. Love is not great delight but desire to please God in everything. Saint Teresa of Avila. Love Best Alone God. Because God gave you your makeup and superintended every moment of your past, including all the hardship, pain, and struggles, He wants to use your words in a unique manner.