If you were to read through the New Testament you would discover that Jesus continually spoke of our immense value to God, telling us that God created us to be His children. Irish U2 rock star Bono remarked in an interview, "It's a mind-blowing concept that the God who created the Universe might be looking for company, a real relationship with people…."5 In other words, before the universe was created, God planned to adopt us into His family. Not only that, but He has planned an incredible inheritance that is ours for the taking. Like the father's heart in Jesus' story, God wants to lavish on us an inheritance of unimaginable blessing and royal privilege. In His eyes, we are special.
In the movie, Stepford Wives, weak, lying, greedy and murderous men have engineered submissive, obedient robots to replace their liberated wives who they considered threats. Although the men supposedly love their wives, they replaced them with toys in order to force their obedience.
God could have made us like that — robotic people (iPeople) hardwired to love and obey him, programming worship into us like a screensaver. But then our compulsory love would be meaningless. God wanted us to love Him freely. In real relationships, we want someone to love us for who we are, not out of compulsion — we'd prefer a soul mate over a mail-order bride. Søren Kierkegaard summarized the dilemma in this story. Suppose there was a king who loved a humble maiden. The king was like no other king. Every statesman trembled before his power…and yet this mighty king was melted by love for a humble maiden. How could he declare his love for her? In an odd sort of way, his kingliness tied his hands. If he brought her to the palace and crowned her head with jewels … she would surely not resist—no one dared resist him. But would she love him? She would say she loved him of course, but would she truly? 6
You see the problem. Less poetically put: How do you break up with an all-knowing boyfriend? ("It's just not working out between us, but I guess you already knew that.") But to make freely exchanged love possible, God created human beings with a unique capacity: free will.
C.S. Lewis reasoned that even though we are internally programmed with a desire to know God, we rebel against it from the moment we are born.7 Lewis also began to examine his own motives, which led him to the discovery that he instinctively knew right from wrong.
Lewis wondered where this sense of right and wrong came from. We all experience this sense of right and wrong when we read of Hitler killing six million Jews, or a hero sacrificing his or her life for someone. We instinctively know it is wrong to lie and cheat. This recognition that we are programmed with an inner moral law led the former atheist to the conclusion there must be a moral "Lawgiver."
Indeed, according to both Jesus and the Scriptures, God has given us a moral law to obey. And not only have we turned our backs on a relationship with Him, we also have broken these moral laws that God established. Most of us know some of The Ten Commandments:
"Don't lie, steal, murder, commit adultery," etc. Jesus summarized them by saying we should love God with all our heart and our neighbor as ourselves. Sin, therefore, is not only the wrong that we do in breaking the law, but also our failure to do what is right.
God made the universe with laws that govern everything in it. They are inviolable and unchangeable. When Einstein derived the formula E=MC2 he unlocked the mystery of nuclear energy. Put the right ingredients together under exacting conditions and enormous power is unleashed. The Scriptures tell us that God's moral law is no less valid since it stems from His very character.
From the very first man and woman, we have disobeyed God's laws, even though they are for our best. And we have failed to do what is right. We have inherited this condition from the first man, Adam. The Bible calls this disobedience, sin, which means "missing the mark," like an archer missing his intended target. Thus our sins have broken God's intended relationship with us. Using the archer's example, we have missed the mark when it comes to the purpose we were created for.
Sin causes the severing of all relationships: the human race severed from its environment (alienation), individuals severed from themselves (guilt and shame), people severed from other people (war, murder), and people severed from God (spiritual death). Like links on a chain, once the first link between God and humanity was broken, all contingent links became uncoupled.
And we are broken. As Kayne West raps, "And I don't think there's nothing I can do to right my wrongs…I wanna talk to God but I'm afraid cause we ain't spoke in so long..." West's lyrics speak of the separation that sin brings to our lives. And according to the Bible, this separation is more than just lyrics in a rap song. It has deadly consequences.
Our rebellion (sin) has created a wall of separation between God and us (see Isaiah 59:2). In the Scriptures, "separation" means spiritual death. And spiritual death means being completely separated from the light and life of God.
"But wait a minute," you might say. "Didn't God know all of that before He made us? Why didn't He see that His plan was doomed for failure?" Of course, an all-knowing God would realize that we would rebel and sin. In fact, it is our failure that makes His plan so mind-blowing. This brings us to the reason that God came to Earth in human form. And even more incredible-—the remarkable reason for his death.
Next: Chapter 4: What Did Jesus Say About Himself? | Previous: Chapter 2 | Table of Contents | References
© 2010 JesusOnline Ministries. This article is a supplement to Y-Jesus magazine by Bright Media Foundation & B&L Publications: Larry Chapman, Chief Editor.
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