Posted by: Moses | February 28, 2007

Approximate Omnipotence

When we fell, we fell from dependence on God as our moral absolute. He gave one rule, which amounted to “Trust me, and remain innocent.” And we broke it. Dissatisfied that God’s way was best, we wanted to judge for ourselves what was best, what was good, bad, ugly, beautiful, lovable, hateable, or worthy. We wanted to be morally independent of God, “like God” only in determining what was right and what was wrong. So we rebelled. However, unfortunately for us, what actually is right and wrong was already determined by God. We wanted to be independent little lords, but like a father, unmoved by the incessant blows of a three-year-old’s tantrum, God is still Sovereign.

Paradoxically, God still wants us to be “like him.” From creation we were made imageo dei. Even in the old covenant he wanted us to “be holy, even as I am holy.” However, under the new covenant the exhortation becomes even more intense: “may the word of Christ dwell in you richly,” “have [one] mind among you, which is yours in Christ Jesus,” “be perfect, even as your father in heaven is perfect,” and “abide in Christ… becoming pure even as he is pure.”

Each of these statements is an exhortation for mankind to reform his will to be in line with God’s. The first is a command to spill out what Christ communicated, exhorting our brothers incessantly in the truth. We are to imitate Christ’s ministry, proclaiming the Kingdom of God. We should want to proclaim the good news of our citizenship there of our rights and responsibilities just as he enjoyed proclaiming it while he was present on earth.

The second command is Paul’s plea for unity in the Philippian church. He pleads with them to be “of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.” By becoming more like Christ’s mind, their passions were drawn from a single unifying source. There was no lateral effort to actively unify their desires, but their loves were unified, because their loves were Christ’s.

Third, we are to be perfect. Now there’s an intense command. Christ’s aim in this mandate is at the fulfillment of the whole law, love. “You have heard, love your neighbor and hate your enemy, but I say ‘Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.'” God loved us and died for us, while we were his mortal, treasonous enemies. Christ’s thrust here is that we should love as our Father loves. He wants our affections, loves, and will to be more and more like his own: complete, impartial, and perfect.

Finally, we are to abide. And as we abide we become like Christ. As we begin to know and understand his heart; we use our moral decision-making and see that his heart is beautiful. We see that he is infinitely worthy, and the crap around us in this world is not. Our moral-compass begins to reorient itself north; we begin to see that God was right all along. Unfortunately, we will not see Christ “face to face” in this lifetime, but one day we will “see him face to face, and be purified even as he is pure.”

Each of these commands to become like God communicates God’s desire that our volition should reflect his. One day, we will know Christ and be like him. Our desires will be his, to exalt the excellencies of God. One day, our will will be done, because our will will be God’s. One day we will love like God, seeing the heart and the worth of each individual as a fellow image-bearer. One day, we will stroll with God. However, it will be different from Eden, because in that day we will want to, not because we are innocent, but knowing full well what the alternative is. In heaven we will be more like God than in Eden. For in heaven, we will know good and evil just like God; however, just like God, we will always see that Good is always best. Our value system will be scaled correctly and we will accurately reflect God’s likeness. One day, we will be like God.

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