Often, we should investigate our common assumptions about reality to see whether what we believe is in fact accurate when we compare it to reality. The subjective is not always objectively true. This has vast implications.
Take the statement that God created the universe.
If we look at that statement, there is a kind of mental picture we get of God (an old man in the sky?) creating everything out of nothing and then sort of walking off to an eternity of rest.
But this is a hopelessly juvenile way of considering the creation of all reality outside the Godhead. This is the great service that evolution brings us (when properly understood, for many atheistic scientists allow their materialist biases to subvert their objectivity). In this view of creation, God is always at work creating the world and sustaining it with His intelligence and power.
But at the same time, this new understanding of the creating God shows the importance of our role in the creation. By cooperating and even collaborating in the creation of this unfinished world, we come upon a reformulation of an age-old theological problem: that of predestination and free will. If we as creatures of God are made in His image and likeness (Genesis), then we also must be creators. But how can God freely create and fulfill His will and at the same time give an important role for man, as co-creator of the world. Predestination signifies God’s role and Free Will that of the human collaborator.
In the old way of understanding the creation, God did it all, and it is up to man the creature to accept or reject this. To accept means joy and heaven, and to decline it is sin and hell.
But in this new and more evolutionary way of seeing the ongoing creation and sustaining of the universe, man is welcomed as a co-creator. So, when we discover the cure for polio, we are creating new possibilities for reality to take.
More and more it becomes clearer and clearer the great power humanity has to make a difference in the world of the future. Science has shown that God has placed the building blocks of future solutions in the factors that science has discovered (e.g. genes).
But it is also possible to err in this and to take those building blocks of future possibilities and, through our sinfulness, devise new and more destructive means of annihilating God’s creation (nuclear, biological and chemical warfare). Not only do we have the capacity of eating the forbidden fruit, we can buzz saw the tree and use it for firewood!
This responsibility that the Lord gives us is part of the ‘coming of age’ of humanity. Parents are often very pleased to see their children doing things to assist them. As the child freely takes responsibility for helping his or her parents, the child feels great satisfaction and the parents are justly proud of the industrious nature of their child.
I remember when I was about 4 years old and my parents had a dinner party for some family friends. They were in the living room talking and had piled up the dishes in the sink for later cleaning. Bored by the drone of their conversation, I went into the kitchen unnoticed and got up on a chair so that I could reach the sink. I turned the water on and began to wash the dishes. Hearing the racket, my parents came to see what was happening. Laughing and very proudly, they called their guests over to see how helpful their little son was! I was so proud of doing it that it probably helped me throughout my life to love work and the ability to make others happy because of it.
God must feel equally proud of us when we take responsibility for our lives and the lives of others, freely and joyfully. I feel we have not gone far enough in understanding the power and varied meaning of the image of God as Father. Like all good parents, God wants the best for us, gets angry when we do stupid and self-destructive things, and longs to share as much time as possible with us.
This is so far from the unconcerned God of the deists, the torturing God of the legalists and the marshmallow God of the new age gurus. Passionate, loving, involved, ever faithful, bringing good even out of our mistakes and sins.
We are not finished yet. The creator God is still creating and He wants us to collaborate with Him in a whole host of projects, most importantly in the project of my life.
What a glorious calling!