I tried to write this as if it was only one possible way that the world works, as if I were simply reporting the claims of the Bible, out of respect for those that don’t believe the same things I do. Unfortunately, writing that way impedes my words and ruins my voice. Because of this, I am writing this post like a story, in order to say what I believe without requiring you to agree with me.
“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”
In the Beginning
Before anything else existed, there was God. One God and yet three persons: Father, Son, and Spirit. He was complete, lacking in nothing, and yet, because it is the nature of love to give love, he desired a family. From the moment he imagined them, seeing their lives laid out before him before they even existed, he loved them unreservedly, passionately, and with the whole of his heart.
Then he spoke what already existed in his heart, and so created the universe.
He created humankind to be like him, placed them in Paradise, where their every need was met with abundance, where they and he were never separated, and he gave the universe to their care.
“You are my beloved,” he told them, “Everything I have is yours, only do not eat the fruit from the tree of judgement, for that will cause death in you.” It is also the nature of love never to force itself upon those whom it loves, and never to force the return of its love.
The Entrance of Sin
As time went, humankind decided that God had lied about who they were. They decided that he was holding back from them, and so did not truly love them, and that, if they ate the fruit from that tree, then they would truly be like God. Then they could take control of the universe and do with it what they willed.
So they ate the fruit. In that action, they separated themselves from God and his love, choosing instead to judge right and wrong, good and evil.
And, apart from love, there is only death.
There is only fear, loneliness, and suffering.
Humankind became afraid of God, thinking that he would punish them. They also became afraid of each other, convinced that intimacy would only lead to harm, and so placed barriers between themselves. In all of this, they denied themselves their purpose of receiving and giving love. In all of this, they began to die, bit by bit, until, one day, the separation would be complete and they would receive in full the consequences of removing themselves from life.
God, seeing his greatest love suffering, could not bear to see them in such pain. He could not change their decisions, for that would contradict his nature, and he could not remove what they had brought into the universe, for he would contradict the authority he had given them in it. In order to remove the curse humankind had brought upon themselves, a human had to take the consequences of that curse without having deserved it. But God knew only too well that no one in the universe could live that kind of life.
There could only be one solution. God the Son chose to give up everything and become human, and God the Father chose to give up those who deserved his love in order to save those who had rejected it.
Such is the nature of love without condition.
Jesus, God the Son, lived in complete accordance with what God had intended for humankind and, as he was crucified, became the sin of every single human being that ever was or would be, those things which are less than what God had made them for. He accepted it as if he were the one responsible, as if they were his, and he accepted their consequence so that humankind would never have to face it.But it was not enough for God to simply remove death and all that came with it. It is not enough to remove poison from a well and then leave it dry. He wanted for the light of his heart to have again what they had had at the beginning.It is never enough for love to give that which is merely adequate.
As the sin of all humankind held him in the grave, Jesus believed without doubt in all that God had said to him while he lived, believed it as if it were then his reality, and this allowed him to be raised from the dead. And in this, not to be pulled merely from the jaws of death, but out from its stomach, he defeated the power of death over humankind. He defeated the power that sin had held over the hearts and minds and bodies of his dear family.
As Jesus returned to his place with God, God the Father gave him a place of the highest honour, and also gave him, as an inheritance, all the abundance of Paradise.
The Heart of Christianity
God created humankind to be his family, to be those who could receive his love and who could love.
The world is full of terrible things because human beings believe that they are less than God created them to be.
God’s heart aches to be with his beloved, to be with those to whom he gave everything.
Jesus died and rose again so that humankind may have life again as it should be, as it was meant to be.To be a Christian means to accept this as truth, to continually progress in understanding and experiencing the fullness of intimacy with God and others, and to imagine in our hearts the reality of God until it cannot help but come out of our mouths and into our lives, transforming the universe around us.
For God is love, and love is this:
“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NLT)