Mr. Heinlein’s Lunch – Guest Post by Randomly Chad

Today, The GBOAT is welcoming Chad Jones, of Randomly Chad. Chad is a husband, father, and occasionally admits to working in IT, so be sure to ask him all of your technology questions now. Sometimes, Chad is goofy, whereas sometimes (like this post yesterday, or this one on introversion) Chad is serious.

Be sure to visit Chad’s site, follow him on Twitter, and also thank him for popping in at The GBOAT today.


The late Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988) is known as one grandmasters of the golden era of Science Fiction (he is usually mentioned alongside Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke). His contributions to the field, his soaring imagination, and his obsession with sex in his later years are undisputed (Don’t believe me? Pick up To Sail Beyond the Sunset–which begins with a gynecological exam. Better yet, don’t pick it up–you’ll thank me).

Among Heinlein’s groundbreaking works, are:

Stranger in a Strange Land–which has given us the popular term, “grok.” As in “I grok you”–I get, understand, am on the same wavelength, as you.

Starship Troopers–militaristic shoot-’em-up, basis for the film of the same name, and responsible for unleashing Denise Richards on the human race. Thanks, Paul Verhoeven!

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress–strangely, not a smutty sex book, but rather one about a moon colony revolting against its earthly overlords.

It is this last book that I would like to discuss today; to wit:

While not its originator (whoever that was is lost to the mists of time), it is with TMiaHM that Heinlein popularized the phrase “there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch” (hereinafter “TANSTAAFL”).

TANSTAAFL was more than just idiom to Mr. Heinlein, it was a way of life–his raison d’être. He believed in the value of hard work, of pulling oneself up by one’s bootstraps*. In short, he lived the Protestent work ethic, but deplored protestantism. Heinlein was a self-made man.

TANSTAAFL is true insofar as it goes–there is indeed value in hard work, in a job well-done, in striving for excellence in all we do–but it’s not the whole story. Those of us that believe in a loving Creator know that, insofar as it goes, there aren’t really any self-made men; no, we were all made by God. As it says in Ephesians 2:8-10:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

(Emphasis mine).

All of which is a pretty clear refutation of the notion of the “self-made” man. Even Robert Heinlein was made by God, inarguably gifted, and yet somehow that seed strangled in his heart. More’s the pity…

You see, TANSTAAFL has no room for grace, no understanding of the “free lunch” Jesus offers by virtue of his death on the cross.

For Heinlein, and maybe for you, Jesus’ “lunch” is just too good to be true. But that’s the kicker: it is true.

It turns out, Virginia**, there is such a thing as a free lunch.

Who would’ve thought?

*A famous short story by Heinlein, By His Bootstraps
**Heinlein’s widow, Virginia “Ginny” Heinlein


5 thoughts on “Mr. Heinlein’s Lunch – Guest Post by Randomly Chad

    1. A “self-man man?” What’s that? 😉

      It is an oxymoron, isn’t? God (and our parents) made us, and while yes, we can choose what to make of ourselves, even out skills are a gift from Our Maker.

  1. Thanks for the warning about Heinleins later works. Read some of the earlier ones as a lad.

    The grace of God is the most awesome thing in the world.

    Second? A nice mutton, lettuce and tomato sandwich when the mutton is nice and lean…

    Oh, or a free lunch

    1. Forewarned is forearmed, my friend. 😉 (Stay away from Friday, Job, & The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, too).

      Amazing to me is that God’s grace is Awesome–and free.

      Miracle Max FTW!

      If you’re ever in Phoenix, lunch is on me.

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