Part 2: Who Is God & Who Are We?
“While I believe that nothing will be found here contrary to sound Christian theology, I yet write not for professional theologians but for plain persons whose hearts stir them up to seek after God Himself.” – A.W. Tozer (From the Preface of, “The Knowledge of the Holy.”)
I couldn’t have said it better myself Mr. Tozer. Thank you.
What you won’t find in this blog post is the answer to all your questions about who God is. Not even close. My even typing that sentence feels a little ridiculous. To speak of a fraction of all His divine attributes would require much more than any blog post could handle. What you will find, however is an honest attempt at showing you why I choose to follow God, my Lord Jesus. And why I have come to call him, The God of Freedom.
In order to discover who God is, we have to travel back to where we sat together in Genesis, surrounded by the perfection of the garden. There we saw God create a world, through power beyond our comprehension. Bringing order from chaos, He planted us in the middle of a paradise teeming with potential for even more beauty. It’s from this vantage point that we see Him offer to us the role of co-steward, born (in my opinion) from a desire to share. The triune God wanted to share the wholeness that He had experienced within relationship, (God the Father, God the Son, God the Spirit) and share Their love…with little. Old. Us.
It’s when we understand who He is and who we are – that this offer of a life lived with purpose - becomes exactly what it is: unimaginable, unthinkable – grace.
Being made in His image, he invited us to be stewards of all that He designed for the earth: the plants, the animals, each other. This God of all power and creativity, set a good planet in motion and beckoned our participation in making it flourish. So from the beginning we see a kingdom being made. A place where this God of the bible reigns.
So, there we were created from love and in relationship with Love Himself. Living in paradise and commissioned as co-stewards and co-makers. Our purpose? To help.
To help in the planting of seeds, pruning back, and creating more and more out of what God already generously provided. As someone who loves to create, the idea of this is like poetry to my heart. Being in a place, full of inspiration and given permission to play and to make things? It sounds quite literally – like heaven. And this is who God is - an all powerful being, calling us to the joy of co-creating with Him and following after Him.
Again, it sounds heavenly but our human nature leans heavily towards wanting more …and I admit that “more” would have betrayed me, as it did with Adam & Eve.
Participating in God’s kingdom, by “making” and “creating” within His established boundaries didn’t seem enough them. Instead, they wanted to establish their own rules and boundary lines. And this, my friends is where all the problems of humanity find their root. We believe, incorrectly, that true freedom flows from a lack of rules and boundaries set by any ultimate authority. And that we deserve access to everything attractive to us in our own timing.
But what happens when we, who know not what God knows, seek to place ourselves on the throne of our own lives and build our own kingdoms?
“Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…” Genesis 1:26
Though we have the likeness of God, we are not God. We lack every divine quality that would equip us to run our own kingdoms. So as Adam & Eve chose their own way – eating from the one tree in all of paradise they were commanded not to, they had no idea what they’re getting themselves into. They had no idea what they were getting us into. In the flash of a moment, they opened the door to their own kingdom; one which they were ill-equipped to rule. This new kingdom gave rise to every kind of depravity that has followed us through the human story. Lying, cheating, abusing, murdering, robbing, raping, the buying and selling of humans, disease, numbing ourselves with drugs…All of it. This new, human run kingdom was made up of everything that God’s was not.
Where the kingdom of God had brought peace and security, this new kingdom brought mayhem and strife. And humans were never made to dwell there.
Centuries later, the door that Adam & Eve opened remains wide and we all choose to step over the threshold daily. We choose to live outside of God’s kingdom. True, we may not be committing those big ticket sins I just mentioned. But this tendency to walk in the way of sin shows itself in the way we treat the ones we say we love, every day. Our pride, our false motives, our lusts, our jealousy. We step over each other in our attempts to get what we believe is meant to be ours. We live sad, depressed, and frustrated lives believing we haven’t gotten what’s due us. We make ourselves miserable, all the while holding tight to our imaginary kingdoms. Our attraction to sin, consistently demeaning the image of God that we bare.
The Most Perfect Ruler of the Kingdom - God - is omnipotent (completely powerful), omnipresent (having the ability to be everywhere), and completely good (wanting the highest best for all).
We are none of these, and yet…we try to rule.
My aim in this writing is not to belittle us as humans. On the contrary, we have great purpose. It’s when we truly understand that we are made in the divine image that we actually begin to understand how important our lives really are. How much we have to offer, and because of that – how vitally important it is that we’re healthy and connected to the Most Perfect Ruler. The Life-Giver. Without Him we live without deep purpose.
“I have come to give them life and life to the full…” John 10:10b
We are God’s hands and feet and He chose us to help steward the earth. It is why each one of us is here; each of us unique in what we bring to the table. Therefore, God gave us industrious minds, creative passions, and able bodies. But without Him directing our steps, our hearts understand not, how to steward what’s been given to them. These hearts of ours were designed for service, so they’ll inevitably succumb to the ways in which they are most familiar in order to do that – ways that are often self-serving or toxic.
Because our hearts must serve something.
“What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?” James 4:1
In Part 1 of this series, “Why Are We Here?” I asked anyone who found themselves wondering whether God was real to suspend skepticism long enough to entertain these ideas: that if the God of the bible were real, He would have to be intensely powerful, intensely intelligent, intensely creative, and intensely loving. Now, I ask you to incorporate the ideas of omnipotence, omnipresence, and complete goodness. And that this God is all of the above and then some.
Imagine now that THIS is the God who decided to make you.
If God is real – and I believe He is. This truth of who He is would point to a grand purpose for humanity in general and a deeply personal purpose for humans individually.
So what now?
Well, this God has given us free will hasn’t He? It was that free will that allowed Adam & Eve to choose their own way. And if you believe that it happened, you must also believe that they chose incorrectly. That the better path would have been to live in peace and in harmony with the plans set before them by God. To follow Him.
The Good News is, that we have an opportunity right now, exactly where you are – centuries later to choose a different way. A way that brings healing, restoration, and love into your life and the lives of others. A way that will bring about your ultimate good.
The bible calls that way - Jesus.
And it’s Him that we’ll talk about next time. Who He is, why He came to earth, and what it would mean to follow Him.
I’m so excited and I hope you are too.
Between then and now, if you’re unsure of everything you’ve just read – I encourage you strongly to PRAY. Your prayer needs no fancy words. Simply bow your soul towards His feet, asking forgiveness for the times you’ve gone your own way and let Him know that you want to know Him. That you’re inviting Him to lead, and stepping down from your own throne in order to follow.
As always, here are some reading & listening recommendations for the road!
Bible: Genesis 3