Righteousness and Similarity
© 15 Feb 2012 Luther Tychonievich
Licensed under Creative Commons: CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
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Perfect ≠ identical, but righteous ~ righteous.


One of the quips I hear fairly often is that “‍as spouses draw closer to God, they draw closer to each other.‍” In my head I labeled this an instance of the triangle inequality:

d(x, z) ≤ d(x, y) + d(y, z)

The underlying implication of this is that righteousness is a metric space and is a subspace of the emotional distance metric space.

As an aside, it is worth observing that while I do make this kind of mathematical translations of doctrinal teachings fairly often, I treat them as similes or parables. All mathematics is an analogy for the real world (assuming it has any application), a set of symbols that hopefully can reveal some, but not all, of the truth more clearly. Often knowing where the symbols fail is as telling as anything the mathematics or parable can teach in itself.

One of the other truths I have observed personally is that the most righteous people I know are also among the most individual. Perhaps this is because they are accustomed to choosing despite rather than because of temptation. Perhaps it is because their ancient spirit has a more dominant role than their fledgling flesh. Perhaps it is just an illusion brought on by sympathetic judgment. Whatever the case, though, I have come to expect every person I admire spiritually will be a character: a noteworthy, unique, and intriguing personality.

Like many eternal truths, these two concepts run counter our temporal expectations. How can righteousness correlate both with being close and being distinct? The answer, I think, hinges on the nature of emotional closeness which is not based so much on similarity as it is on compatibility and mutual respect. Those characteristics that would hamper a close relationship are antithetical to a righteous life, while those that add flavor and interest remain and are honed and enhanced by faith.

Thus I expect heaven is one of the most delightful socialities possible: interesting, unique people who differ widely but never in a disagreeable way. Which, in truth, is one of the most heavenly scenarios I can imagine.

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