Friday, October 21, 2005

 

A Great Debate

Who is more responsible for sin? Satan or man? On the test question, which sprouted a discussion between son and mom, ‘both’ was not a choice. What is man’s role or purpose in this life? ‘Produce, maintain, or stewardship’? My son, the independent thinker, didn’t answer the way the profs wanted. He believed the theology being taught gave humans way too much credit and capability! Has man produced anything good? Can man maintain anything? Is our purpose only to care for the things God has given us? Is this a ‘back to nature’ philosophy? I wasn’t sure what was being proposed but there are some valid points. Man has done much harm in the name of progress, often creating a hazard for the sake of efficiency. What can man maintain? It is God who holds ALL things together (Colossians 1:17) and at the snap of His finger, evil will be set loose upon the earth! (2 Thessalonians 2:6,7) Man is small. “He (God) sits enthroned above the arch of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers” ~Isaiah 40:22; “If even the moon is not bright and the stars are not pure in His eyes, how much less man…” ~Job 25:6) What is man? (Psalm 8:3,4) God’s plans alone stand. (Psalm 33:8-11) Man is incompetent. (2Corinthians 3:5) Jesus made it clear as a cloudless day, “Apart from Me, you can do nothing.” ~John 15:5

If we are thus small and insignificant, without God, and if we consider the evidence of men’s failings in our current surroundings, who could argue? My little flower garden can’t even flourish without God’s gift of rain! Those of you in drought can attest! As I searched for the above verses, I grew frustrated! With all my tools at my fingertips, the location of the verse in my head eluded me. I can’t even find the words that say, ‘we can do nothing apart from God’, apart from God! (Who says God doesn’t play jokes?)

And reverting back to the first question, if Satan had not entered the world, might humanity have retained innocence? Sure, bad choice was our downfall but remove temptation from the picture! Is it not likely God and His creatures would have got along nicely? Would it have entered our brains to betray Him without the Betrayer of All? My answer would have to include Satan AND men as the culprits for sin entering the Garden! The epitome of Evil and Temptation, along with Adam and Eve’s lackluster turning from God, makes choosing a MORE responsible party almost nonsensical. My son, for the test, chose Satan. After all, he started it! The correct answer was supposedly man. Both are a disturbingly limited view.

The ultimate question is, how responsible are we as created beings. We had better understand this fully if we are gonna approach cultural mandate theology. Not only had we better comprehend Satan’s role in our personal history and ability to obey God, (the old ‘know thine enemy’!) there is the daily surrender to God’s influence and power, without which we are rendered useless! That’s why production and maintenance (even stewardship) don’t appear to be anything men are capable of handling consistently. Some parts of history are prettier than others. One can argue they correlate with Christian influence but the exceptions will be used to argue against this obvious truth. Two reasons: human nature and a subconscious affinity for God surfaces in creative and orderly ways on occasion among the heathen; Christians can become less aware of their purpose and more self-reliant. So, you see, the whole “we’re better than you because God works in us” becomes quite muddled. I am certain this is why Jesus followed up His cultural mandate with, “However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in Heaven.” ~Luke 10:20

It is easy to get worked up and excited that God has given us such an awesome task AND the authority to do it! Produce…maintain…care for and use the earth for His Glory and Kingdom! How rich! Blessed are the poor in spirit…the FROGs…Fully Reliant on Our God. We are far from being nothing because He has made us for something.

“I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, “My purpose will stand and I will do all that I please.” ~God in Isaiah 46:10

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