Like it or Not

Adam, Eve, & Serpent, Chichester Cathedral

Adam, Eve, & Serpent, Chichester Cathedral

Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor touch it, lest you die’.” Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day that you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like god, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food….

Well, we all know what happens next. And many great teachers and preachers have told us why; have talked about the pride, the hubris, of Adam and Eve wanting to set themselves up as their own final authorities; how they were sucked into repeating Satan’s own sin. And they are right of course.

But something in there caught my eye today. Something small perhaps, but revealing. I think it is what most broke God’s heart, and I think it still does. It is a small word, easily overlooked, but to me it speaks volumes. “You will be like God”. There it is. You can remove this little word and you would still have all of the pride and hubris, but not the heartbreak. The word is “like”. What broke God’s heart was not that we aimed too high, but that we aimed too low. To be “like” God might be good, and so it seemed to Adam and Eve, but God had something better planned for them, and for us.

There is something essentially sad about someone who wants to be like another. Think, for instance, of an Elvis impersonator. Here is someone who is so much not a person that all they can do is to try to recapture the genius of another. They have no confidence in their own personhood, no sense of their own unique genius, that they must submerge themselves in their idol.

How different is the person who wants to be not an Elvis impersonator but rather the “next Elvis”! This person is not denying or hiding their self in his, but is affirming it. You might, on hearing them, deny the truth of their self-appraisal, but you cannot deny their striving, their determination, their desire to be.

I said earlier that God had something better planned for us than to be like God. Did you wonder what that could be? It is simple: God wants to put his own life in us, to make us not “like God” but “Gods”. That is what He calls his  in the Psalms. And what else is meant by the repeated New Testament statement that we are now, through Christ, sons of God?

Jesus was, and is, both fully God and fully human. He was a man in whom all the fullness of the godhead dwelt. And he was that so that we too could become that. That is our destiny! It starts now. By the power of the indwelling Spirit the divine life flows in and through us.

Let us not grieve God any more. Let us remember that the good is the mortal enemy of the best, and that God wants only the best for us. Let us stop excusing ourselves because we are “only human” and let us start believing that we are truly much more. When the world saw the divine in one man, a few were changed. And through them many were changed. What would change if the world saw the divine in all of us?


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8 Responses to “Like it or Not”

  1. How Can a Good God Allow Evil? Does Life Have Meaning? « Bear Veracity Says:

    […] Like it or Not ( […]

  2. Simple Theologian Says:

    Very intriguing thoughts. I noticed the part about “be like God” in the fall and have been chewing on it for awhile now.

    Isn’t it amazing that God made man “in His image.” This says we were meant for and incredible purpose on earth. God never intended us to be God, but we already were like God. Just as a newborn baby is like it’s parents.

    The deceiver convinced us that we needed something else to be like God, that we had the power to take hold of our own fate. We were never intended to hold our own fate, that is why Christ had to die, to reverse the fate of mankind and allow the way back to God.

    • thoughtfulspirituality Says:

      Thanks for the comment.

      I see the Bible as a love story, as it sees itself (or what does it mean that the church is the “bride of Christ”?). C. S. Lewis pointed out that if God is love, then He needed an “other” for that love to be truly expressed. And for that, He created us! What a destiny.

  3. He is Able! « On Planting Seeds… Says:

    […] Like it or Not ( […]

  4. Peter j Foster Says:

    I like being a son of God – being as Jesus in this world.
    I sometimes forget who I am, but I only have to start speaking out and meditating on the Truth and I’m back hidden with Christ in God.
    It’s the safest and happiest place to be.
    Great Blog – thanks.

    • thoughtfulspirituality Says:

      Amen! Far too many Christians hide behind the old “don’t look at me, look at Christ” nonsense. Paul had no problems telling his converts to imitate him.

      If a person’s life is so little changed by their relationship with God, maybe its time for them to question whether they have a relationship at all. Christ said “if you have seen me, you have seen the Father”. Now, while I don’t think we should be going around saying that (it seems a little proud!), we should not be making excuses but expecting those around us to see Jesus in us.

      • Simple Theologian Says:

        Sounds like it’s either false modesty or as you put it so little change.

        Both can be dangerous and should be looked at personally.

        Paul did tell others to “imitate him AS he imitated Christ.” Christ should be are reflection and it’s true that we cannot save another but I agree as people around us should be able to see Jesus in us.

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