From the Archives: The End

posted Jul 18, 2016, 7:26 AM by Lindsey Scholl
I heard once that visually powerful movies were filmed in such a way that if you paused them randomly on any scene, that scene would be a poster-worthy picture in itself. Sometimes reading G.K. Chesterton has the same feel. Bracket any sentence in a G.K. Chesterton book and, voila, you have an enduring quote. Today I want to mention one of those enduring quotes, which I picked quite deliberately and not at random.

In his chapter entitled "The Aristotelian Revolution," Chesterton points out that for Aquinas and others like him, "The end of a thing does not mean its destruction, but its fulfillment."* Read that again: the end of a thing does not mean its destruction, but its fulfillment. This is the philosophical idea of telos or one's purpose/goal/reason for existence.

For example:

The end of an acorn is to be an oak tree, which also involves the "destruction" of the acorn.

The end of a caterpillar is to be a butterfly, which also involves the "destruction" of the caterpillar.

The end of a marriage is to model Christ's love for us and to provide children. In that sense, the destruction of a marriage is at cross purposes with its end.

What about humans? Is our end to simply die or be destroyed, as so many apocalyptic movies imply? Perhaps our destruction will lead to something greater, as evolution implies? Or, like a marriage, is our destruction actually at cross purposes with our end? I firmly believe the latter.

*p. 39, Thomas Aquinas.  Sam Torode Book Arts: Nashville, TN. First published in 1933.

Feb. 28, 2014