The voices proclaiming autonomy did include a qualifying addendum — “Do your own thing, as long as no one gets hurt.” But that tacked-on safety clause was generally ignored, as people pursued “sexual freedom” without restraint. Unwed pregnancies skyrocketed. Abortions and single parents multiplied. Unstable relationships became a norm. Many more children now grew up in homes without the balancing bond of couples committed to the challenging work of marital love.
Genesis 1:28a); 2) serving as governing representatives for Him (Genesis 1:28b), 3) cultivating and protecting His creation (Genesis 2:15); 4) building a human knowledge-base by categorically naming what He had created (Genesis 2:19); and 5) doing these duties in the context of loving marital union (Genesis 2:24).
All these dimensions of being servants were to be performed in the context of a relationship with the Ultimate Servant, God Himself. After creating the universe, God continued serving as its ongoing Sustainer. That job required an even more energetic, personal involvement after His chosen human representatives failed in their leadership role by choosing the disaster of autonomy over the safety of His authority.
God’s servant nature of caring creativity united to enlightening truth bountifully expands forever, while the self-limiting attitudes and activities of human autonomy become ingrown: 1) parents raise children to image themselves rather than God; 2) servant leadership erodes into tyrannies of self-will and personal power; 3) caring for creation is lost in controlling and exploiting it; 4) pride enthrones knowledge as a god, making science its temple; and 5) marriage devolves from an organic union to a contract easily dissolved by changed feelings.
|Painting by Albert Edelfelt|
The Cross wasn’t the end of God’s incarnational strategy. Christ’s death and resurrection redeemed His failed human project. But now, the Leader of human servant leadership is God Himself. As the Father lived in Jesus, so Christ now indwells His followers. Instead of doing Kingdom work in one isolated body in Palestine, Jesus has been living and serving around the globe in multiple billions of human bodies. In Christ, God’s original plan for us — to image Him as a growing community of body-spirit beings, blessing creation with loving, God-directed service — has become our restored destiny.
While we don’t know with certainty all realities, all situations, all circumstances, with all their interactive relationships and contingently interwoven possibilities, God does. We don’t perfectly know others or even ourselves, but God does. We can’t get near loving ourselves as deeply as God loves us. So, which is more logical: to submit ourselves to the direction of perfect Love guided by omniscient Wisdom or to follow our own imperfect love, further handicapped by a limited human knowledge of everything? The logical reply is a no-brainer, yet often we trust and follow our own judgment, when God is pointing us in the opposite direction. This makes our confident autonomy a sad form of insanity!
|"Come, Follow Me" by Brent Borup|