Posted by: sailingspirit | June 1, 2012

Copernicanism and Christianity, Part II

I recently watched a panel discussion (debate?) about the topic of just how literally the Genesis account of creation ought to be taken, and I noticed the human-centric mentality hovering just below the surface of some of the commentary.  I wanted to write about it again because during such discussions the subtlety of it is usually missed altogether, and when it is not it is often dismissed as negligible.  But I assert wholeheartedly that it is not negligible–in fact, it might very well be the thing that keeps us from breaking through to that next level of operation in the spiritual Kingdom!

Allow me to preface with this:

The difference between dead and almost dead matters.

The difference between pregnant and not pregnant matters.

The difference between 0 and -1 in your bank account matters (especially when 1 = 35 in fees)

The difference between hired and almost-hired matters.

Do you see the pattern?  We experience significantly different consequences stemming from each of subtly different states.  I would challenge you further to consider each statement above some length further along in time.  What is the difference between dead and almost dead after one year?  The difference between pregnant and not pregnant after one year?  Not-overdrawn vs. overdrawn for a year?  Employed vs. unemployed for a year?  Do you see how the effect seems to magnify and ripple with time?  The difference may be small initially, but may not always stay so small.  To assume so could be a grave error indeed!  These subtle differences are not always just states of being, they can also be points of decision, turning points in a pathway of both thinking and pursuing.  Which means your outcome and your destination will be wildly different.  What is the difference between getting on the airplane at Gate 7a or the one at Gate 7b?  Small difference?  No!  You might want Sarasota but end up in Shanghai!

Thus I assert that we must not waive away the difference between a human-centric and a God-centric point of view.  We must not not waive away the consequences of such a different reference point.  Like a kaleidoscope, one small turn of the dial presents a totally different picture, so the way in which we view things, understand things, value things, interact with things and even desire things will be a different picture if we shift from one perspective to another.

This is the very opposite of negligible, then, in the discussion of how to interpret creation scripture.  Some assert that we should adjust scripture meaning to suit who we are and where we are today.  (Modern times vs. historical times, for example.)  As a human-centric paradigm, that necessitates assigning God, the angelic host, nature, etc. a supportive role to our understanding of our own situation.  “I want to understand X, so I will look to God, the cosmos, nature, society, etc. as sources of information to build my understanding of X.”  The end result of that process is all about you and X, or more specifically you and what you will do with/about X.  It’s a self-centered paradigm, that used repeatedly will build up your understanding about many things, but what you learn about God in the process nevertheless cannot readily make up for your belief that He is a fascinating, reliable resource at your fingertips whenever you beckon.  Do you not see how that is thinking and behavior that takes God down from his position and raises you up?  Do you not see how it is self-idolatry, or at the very least knowledge-idolatry?  This is why God tells us in the scripture that at His most foolish, God is still far wiser than you at your most educated (1st Corinthians Chapter 1, Verse 25).  It is not a far mental leap to see how this relates to religion.

Consider the alternative now.  In a God-centric paradigm, everything is about Him and we are included in the supportive cast.  We exist for Him, in some way, whether it be as a resource to Him or a comfort to Him or a pleasure for Him.  Thus the statement changes from “Why does this exist?” to “God, why did You make this?”  A God-centric paradigm is inherently relational, which is qualitatively different.  It is now personal, not instead-of but in-addition-to factual.  The pursuit of knowledge is no longer sterile or mechanical but hierarchically respectful and prayerful.  (Without additional effort, I might add!)  Inquiry-as-prayer is as easy as conversation.  Furthermore, the list of possible reasons for something’s existence expands when intelligent intention is included, because the purpose is allowed to go beyond mere function–“God, why did you make people?”  “Well, My Boy, partly it was to teach the Rebellion–and everyone else–a lesson that no one will ever take over My Throne.  And partly because it was fun!  I like people, there’s so many different kinds–big ones, small ones, tall ones, short ones, it just goes on and on.  Sometimes they surprise Me, sometimes they make me laugh.  Sometimes they also make Me cry or make Me angry, which is no fun, but it’s a package deal and overall, I think it’s worth it.”  (Now isn’t that better than “Someone had to eat the buffalo”?)  A human-centric point of view makes us gods, meaning that God can only be as-much-as or in-kind-with us.  They acknowledge human ability to will and motive for purely emotional reasons, but refuse to admit the possibility that God could or would, and surely won’t admit we get our characteristics from Him.  They are anthropomorphically discriminatory.  So to them, God’s answer can never be, “I had never made one before, I wanted to see how it would turn out.”

Switching from a human-centric point-of-view to a God-centric view also opens up the personality of God, reinforcing to our understanding that He is a person, a being, not a concept or subject matter.  It gives us motivation to be relational, adding to the mystery and intrigue because He is less predictable than we previously assumed.  If God is THAT powerful, and can do things “just because,” there’s no telling what He might do next!  Does that not exponentially widen your view of His majesty and the realm of possibility going into the future?  Does that not make you want to follow Him around, if for no other reason than to see what He does next?  Perhaps motivate you to stay on His good side?  This paradigm shift makes God not a database or vending machine of factoidal information, but ALIVE!  Is it any wonder, then, the entire Bible quotes God trying to tell us He wants a relationship with us because He Is The Living God?  To center our entire lives around Him, as our source for everything, because doing so is easier, better, and more enjoyable?

Thus I write this follow-up piece to show that the dynamic, exciting, fulfilling experience of and with God so many people earnestly seek is more readily achievable than their wearied efforts have led them to believe; to offer relief and encouragement that it is not an academic pursuit for the elite intelligentsia to debate, but a loving and brilliantly simple system made accessible to every one at every level, requiring no status or wealth or competitive achievement: Move out of the center of your world, where there is no movement, to orbiting God where there is constant revolution!  Become a part of what He is doing, by asking to participate, rather than analyzing it from a distance and, at best, understanding it with no opportunity to be effectual with it.  Get over yourself for a while, get about God, and discover that what opens up to you is far more infinite than you ever could have guessed.  In getting to know God, the person, you’ll also learn more about yourself, the person.  This is what the scripture means when it says, “Take up your cross and follow Me….For he who is willing to lose his life will surely find it.”

Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech Oh yes, it's found h...

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