"But the LORD is the true God;
He is the living God and the everlasting King.
At His wrath the earth will tremble,
And the nations will not be able to endure His indignation.
Thus you shall say to them: “The gods that have not made the heavens
and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under these heavens.”
He has made the earth by His power,
He has established the world by His wisdom,
And has stretched out the heavens at His discretion. "
" Remember the former things of old,
For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like Me,
Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things that are not yet done,
Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
And I will do all My pleasure,’
Calling a bird of prey from the east,
The man who executes My counsel, from a far country.
Indeed I have spoken it;
I will also bring it to pass.
I have purposed it;
I will also do it. "
Once upon a time, the earth was void and formless, and the Spirit of God hovered over the deep. He spoke, and the universe appeared, a perfect, magnificent place with worlds, stars, meteors, moons, and suns. A place with countless galaxies--all of which he named to the last speck of dust and declared good. He barred off the ocean and scooped up the mountains. He grew animals from the bottom of the ocean, the clay of the earth, and the clouds in the sky. He planted a garden never duplicated and made a clay figurine, then breathed into its nostrils and gave it breath. He took a rib from his clay man and made a woman out of bone, and she too breathed.
Once upon a time God, angel, man, and beast walked together, fearless and full of joy and vitality. Once upon a time, the Great Cosmic Tragedy came, and the entire Universe screamed as the throes of Death began. Thus began the Great Rift, thus began the day first blood ever spilled.
Something else happened, though, the day the worlds writhed in pain. The first hand of mercy reached down, picked up the creature that hated it, and covered its shame in robes. Thus began the middling part, where Man and God and Beast made war, all the Cosmos in a fright because their kings brought sin and death, shuddering and weeping, appalled and gasping.
But be not dismayed, desperate universe: His servants enough he's sent; now your king sends another, the great prince who above all rules. The final act's begun. Life fought with Death; and Death delivered his most wicked stroke. For a moment's breadth the Cosmos thought that all was now a loss.
But then came a new song.
"Where, O Death, is your victory?
Where, O Sin, is your sting?
The Firstborn has come from among the dead;
He's dragging you in chains;
Adam's curse fell to the Holy One;
The Great King has a victory won;
Where, O Death, is your victory?
Where, O Sin, is your sting?
Hear the song of those back from your maw, O Death;
Know that he has crushed your head;
Abram's sons sing the song;
Sarah's daughters, sing along;
Where, O Death, is your victory?
Where, O Sin, is your sting?"
The song grew in height, width, and breadth, and Death's blows only strengthened the sound. Louder and louder, sweet victory went out; and all Creation learned the sound. The Dread Champion has gone to war against the Dark. He's confident of the final piece, enough to display his battle plans and offer a peak at the epilogue; he's written a glorious ending, and he has but one thing left to say--
What God is not
Terrible, overly-intelligent, vain, and selfish. He has no limitation and he's capable of everything good and right in the world. He is incapable of evil, incapable of injustice. The cosmos keeps creaking, cracking, breaking, leaking, and warping--and he knows full well, and he is not helpless to it. He can alter the natural laws at will; he is not childish or flawed. He isn't perpetually angry, and he's certainly no Santa Clause. He does not contradict his own nature, nor is he ever blindsided by anything. He cannot be tricked, manipulated, or exploited, nor does he himself do those things. His way is not simply the best way, it is the only way. He not subject or servant to time and space, nor is anything ever out of his hands. He is not human. He doesn't worry. He doesn't fear. He needs no one. He will never "go dark" or be evil or cruel. He is not oblivious to human limitations, weakness, and pain. He is not tyrannical, oppressive, or self-indulgent. He is not foolish, ignorant, prejudiced, or unkind. He never says the wrong thing and never wastes a moment. He lacks nothing.
He is God, and not a man.
Who we are to the Lord and Master of the Universe and of Time and Space
This is something I never think about much, mostly because it seems rather self-centered to think about it like this. But he made us, and if it's worship to reflect on the glories of the heavens, the might of the mountains, and the beautiful terror of the oceans, then why should it be any less an exercise of worship to reflect on the marred Imago Dei that is the whole of humanity? So, without further adieu, according to the Creator and Sustainer of the Cosmos, we little humans are:
○ created in his image, perfect and beautiful, with his emotions and creative spirit (marred though they be now)
○ fallen and broken, in need of redemption
○ finite and small, fragile
○ Foolish children, darkened in mind
○ made "a little lower than the angels"
○ proud and in rebellion
○ kings and queens of the earth, even if we've lost our own dominion
○ made to fill the earth, subdue it, and rule over it
○ Made to cultivate, create, and explore
○ his creatures, whom he loves
○ Either slaves of sin or slaves or righteousness
○ fall into either the category of wicked or righteous
○ fail to acknowledge God as God and give him thanks
○ tend to serve the creature rather than the created
○ wicked in the heart ("You, being evil, know how to give your children good gifts")
○ meant to find our delight in him
○ easily tempted, easily swayed over to the Enemy of our souls
Of whom the world is not worthy
The God of the Universe says the best we have to offer amounts to nothing. Human glory is but the moon reflecting the sun: the greater light is the glory of God himself. Human goodness is laughable in the face of the Most Holy. He made our brains, but he certainly doesn't expect our wisdom to even compare with his. Human intelligence is impressive only to other humans--largely because there is so much we can't see or fathom. Human beauty is dross before his magnificence; human strength is nothing before his might. We cannot grasp the total Otherness of the God of the Universe.
Scripture has its own 'short list' of God's companions. It's not an exhaustive list, but it finishes up by calling the saints of God "men of whom the world was not worthy." In fact, it's everyone who fits under this label that Hebrews calls "so great a cloud of witnesses."
He calls us out of the darkness. He calls us out of the land of the dead. He calls us into life and light, to pleasure and glory and delights we can't fathom. He tells us to strip off all that's evil and to put on righteousness and wear it like a robe. He tells us to:
○ be poor in spirit
○ be meek
○ be hungry and thirsty for righteousness
○ be merciful
○ be pure in heart
○ be peacemakers
○ those persecuted for righteousness' sake
○ love mercy
○ do justly
○ walk humbly with him
○ fear the Lord
○ love the Lord with everything they've got
○ love their neighbors
○ keep his commands
He offers us new lives, a new spirit, a new heart and mind. And a new body, ultimately. He calls us salt and light, he calls us thick, strong oak trees planted by an everlasting stream, always producing fruit, always a place of rest for anyone coming by. He calls us saints, co-heirs with Christ, Christ's brothers, friends, servants, slaves of righteousness, a holy nation, chosen generation, royal priesthood, called out, set apart ambassadors, his children. He says we're more than conquerors; I think by that he means it's not just a matter of overpowering an enemy and dominating territory but a matter of returning back to what we were supposed to be: cultivators invested in the territory we're in. It's not a matter of dominance, but of submission, not of tyranny but humility.
He knows who we were; he knows what we are.
And really, he only has one thing left to say about it: "You are mine."