Friday, January 25, 2013

Christian Theology in a Thumbnail: Humanity (9)



 “what are human beings
            that you (God) think about them;
        what are human beings
            that you (God) pay attention to them?”                                                                                                                   (Psalm 8)

          What God thinks about us human beings is finally the only thought about us that really matters.  And that for two reasons.  First, God is our Creator and has deemed his creative work “good” and “very good”.  He knows us in a uniquely intimate and exhaustive way!
          
 Secondly, God loves us with an unfathomable love.  He loves us truly and can be relied upon to tell us the truth about who we are.

          So what does God tell us about who we are?

          On the one hand, we are creatures and not gods.  Our primal sin was and is believing just this lie that snake first propounded in the Garden of Eden.  We are dependent upon God for life and all that sustains life.

          On the other hand, we are created in God’s image.  We can scarcely imagine what this means.  We are God’s royal representatives to reflect his character and his will and way throughout all the creation.  Further, we are those who protect and care for the creation to nurture it to its full flourishing.  C. S. Lewis, as he usually does, puts it memorably in his sermon “The Weight of Glory”:

                There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations,
cultures, arts, civilization—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of
a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendours . . . Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbour is the holiest object presented to your senses. If he is your Christian neighbour he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ vere latitat—the glorifier and the glorified, Glory Himself, is truly hidden.”

          As such glorious and glory-bound creatures, we are also addressed and responsive creatures.  We have ears and mouths to hear God’s Word to us and respond in praise and worship.  Communication with God is ingredient to our creaturehood.  Listening first, then speaking is a crucial mark of who we are.  Get that order, reversed and trouble ensues.  We grow earlids and deaf to any voice but our own. (But more on the deformation of our humanity in a later post in this series.)

          We are relational beings, created in the image of a relational (that is, triune) God.  Communion, enmeshed in a living and growing relation with God is the life source of our humanity.

          We are also created for community.  God made us for others.  Indeed, we can say that we are our relationships.  Others are a constituent part of our life just as we are of theirs. 

          Glorious beings and created for glory, human beings are called to live in communication, communion, and community with the triune God in the company of all his other glorious creatures!

No comments:

Post a Comment