Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Plagiarism

I’ve been really ticked off at Satan lately.

I’m not someone who usually rebukes him in the name of Jesus, by the way, although I have. I’d personally rather ask Jesus Himself to get Satan out of here. But it doesn’t mean I don’t get directly mad at him.

This is what I’m mad about. I’m mad that he keeps promising the same stuff God promises, when it isn’t his to give, and it isn’t even original (God having thought of it first), and we instant-gratification-crazed humans keep falling for it.

When God created Adam and Eve, He created them in His image. As in, like Him. The first two chapters of the first book of the Bible (not to mention other parts) make a pretty big deal about this. As in, it’s really the focal point of the whole creation narrative.

Then this snake comes along and tells Eve (and presumably Adam, since he was obviously there) that she’ll be like God if she eats some fruit. Here’s what else I’m mad about. She and Adam believe him. It’s so stupid. They already were like God. Only they doubted God and believed some reptile, and suddenly became much less like God. I'm mad that they were duped that easily, and I'm mad that I still am.

Disobedience was key in the ensuing rift between humans and God. Pride was the enticement. But I think the following consequences were more about broken trust than about vindictiveness. God had a relationship with those two, and they chose fruit over that, and so I guess it’s not unreasonable that He was hurt. They hadn’t trusted Him, and now He couldn’t trust them, and that part of the image at the very least (the faithful part) had been shattered. God is perfect and we're told He can't be in relationship with imperfect beings, and I guess that's probably true (though likely in a more mysterious way than we're normally given to understand). But on another, maybe smaller, maybe less mysterious level, is it all that surprising that a separation occurs between God and humans when we try to get something we already have (which He had already given us, because He loved us) from someone else? (As a slight aside, is it really all that surprising that God describes Himself as a jilted lover or a cuckold throughout the Old Testament, or that He's that hacked about it?)

So here, really, is why I’m mad. This planet is full of billions of people, and we’re all trying on some level, more or less consciously, to “find ourselves,” to “be ourselves,” to have our potential realised. And we’ve all got residual glory in us, so some of us might come close to succeeding, whether we acknowledge God or not. But ever since that first decision not to trust Him, we would, by and large, prefer to believe the copy-cat than the Author, so we try to be copy-cats, too. We try to be god by ourselves. On our own. And we can't. And we should be.

I’ve had friends ask me how, if I believe humans were created in God’s image, I can say that we can’t be gods. Well, you know what? Maybe we can. But an image can’t really exist without the original. Mirrors are made by people, and they can reflect anything that happens to be in their vicinity, but a mirror isn't actually realising its potential if a person isn't looking into it. Maybe we’re all just mirrors. And our potential is only fulfilled when we're reflecting the one who made us.

Maybe we’re all supposed to be gods. Psalm 82.5-7 hints at it. Jesus quotes it and essentially says we are (John 10.34-36). Maybe that’s why God gave Adam and Eve that authority of the earth. We, human beings, named the animals. We can procreate. We can create, too (though not out of nothing). Satan can’t do that. But when we chose (and choose) to go with the counterfeit, we abdicated it to the ones who wanted it and managed to dupe us into giving it to them. Jesus doesn’t call Satan the prince of this world for nothing. Satan wasn’t supposed to have any say at all—but we gave it to him, and we keep doing it.

It’s ironic, in a heart-breaking and really annoying sort of way, that when we try to be gods, we become less and less so, and we lose more and more authority. But if we just give ourselves up to trusting the One who made us, we end up reflecting Him, and becoming more who we were supposed to be.

5 comments:

Annelise said...

Doug Stuart (prof at GCTS) says that the word for "image" in the Old " and that idols were the representation of various gods to human beings. He says we are actually God's idol--or His representation on earth. Just thought that might be an interesting addition to some of your comments.

I just prepared a Bible study on "The Fall" and noticed (for the first time?) that God's expelling Adam and Eve from the Garden was really an act of mercy. It would have been terrible to live forever under the judgment of God.

Have you ever noticed Genesis 5 and the contrast between God making man in His likeness, and Adam having a son in "his" (small h) likeness? Kind of interesting, I think!

Jenn said...

I actually had noticed that. It's cool--and weird--and raises all sorts of other questions, as well as hints of "first Adam, Second Adam" stuff.

I hadn't heard the idol thing. Likewise interesting. So do you think that part of why God commanded us not to make idols was not only (though probably primarily) because they distract us from our relationship with him, but because they diminish who we were actually meant to be?

Annelise said...

I'm sure that's part of what diminishes us. Even our idols today diminish us as well as distract us from God.

Frank said...

hey jenn,
you have "created" some great dialogue, which i fully intend to take part in...just want to gather the thoughts a little more coherently, and let you know that I do indeed read your thoughts...well maybe not read your thoughts literally, that would be scary,but at least read the ones you print...take care..frank

Jenn said...

Thanks, Frank! ;-)

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