God Is Love
When we grasp that God is richly affectionate and deliciously good, it changes how we see everything. And so I’ll tell the Christian Good Friday story in a way you may not have heard it before. Father God, may it give highly sensitive people eyes to see our world and Your goodness in a new way! The Name of Jesus!
A Simplistic Story As I Understand It
Long ago God created a perfect world. Our Creator, deliciously good Himself, declared His creation good. It was harmonious with all His beautiful, loving, happy emotions. Harmony, peace, and joy were defining, as they were defining of the Creator Himself.
The Creator chose a plot of ground on this new earth and planted a garden. It was a wonderful garden – without weeds, pest, blight, or drought.
Creator God then created a man and a woman who reflected His very image and gave them the garden as their home. He dearly loved this man and woman He had created and spent time with them and gave them joyful, satisfying, meaningful work. There was no death, no decay, and no unpleasantness. They flourished.
Their occupation was to serve and keep the garden in which they lived. (Keep it from what, I wonder? Maybe we’ll see?) But that wasn’t all. The plan was that, as they procreated and spread across the earth, they were to have dominion over the entire earth and everything in it.
Now, dominion isn’t the same thing as domination. Domination has to do with power over someone or something. But dominion is rulership, and Jesus Himself explained that the role of the leader is to humbly serve. “But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant” (Matthew 23:11).
When God planted this garden, He took a great and calculated risk. He placed a Choice in the garden. Why would He do this? Possibly because without a choice these people He loved could never truly be His friends. With no choice they could only be programmed, dominated, or controlled. And programming, domination, and control aren’t within the nature of God.
The essence of the Choice was to honor their Creator’s boundaries for them and live in this lovely world in satisfying relationship with their Creator. Or to violate the Creator’s wishes and seek beyond for what might lay outside. And He warned them that outside their present reality was death.
My imagination kicks in here. I can picture them in this loveliness wondering what exotic things God might be keeping from them. Was it better than this? Were they missing out on something they might desire? With no paradigm for anything but harmony, beauty, love, and a world bursting with life, they didn’t know what to expect. And being limited to their own reality, which was defined by the beauty of Who God Is, they could not access any other data for making this decision. They either had to choose to honor their great friend and loving Creator, or they could explore beyond His margins.
The day came that the man and the woman made their Choice, and they chose to explore the reality that was outside this loveliness God had entrusted to them. And there truly was a reality outside of it. It was a reality outside of God Himself.
All the things in that reality were outside the beautiful nature of God. I have no clue why it existed. That’s not part of this story. But it was real and it was filled with all the things that were dissonant to the nature of God.
And so humanity chose. It wasn’t God who chose; it was our kind who made the Choice. And in their choosing, they ushered in much that was dissonant to the beautiful nature of God: stress, discontent, broken relationships, shame, injury, disease, death, ingratitude, boredom, resistance, gossip, craving, and yes, even what we call outright evil (such as torturing people to death through crucifixion).
Continue reading the Good Friday Story