A Simple Theology

Every morning I read the paper and find myself fighting back a wave of sadness. There is literally no end to the depravity that infects the human being. Children tortured and abuse by their own parents, dozens randomly murdered in a market place, unfathomable atrocities committed in the name of God; it never ends. And to dismiss it as an aberration is being dishonest, because a simple survey of human history is enough to prove otherwise. Human beings are broken and corrupt creatures, mired in selfishness, and capable of inflicting unspeakable evil on each other.  It’s a truth that should be unbearable, but I long ago embraced a theology that helps me make sense of this senselessness.

God is the totality of all there is, and nothing exists above or apart from God. God continually loves creation into existence. We are part of that relationship of love because we are part of creation, and therefore, inseparable from God.

We are created as independent moral beings with a free-will, because free-will is an absolute condition of love. Love cannot be compelled because the essence of love is the voluntary sacrifice of self.  We are in a relationship with God because God is the creator, and we are the creation, and he continuously loves us into existence.  That is the inescapable truth of who God is and what God does. His most intimate desire is that we embrace his love and immerse ourselves into our relationship with him. However, because we are endowed with a free-will, we can choose the depth and the extent of that relationship; we are free to surrender to God’s love, or to deny him completely.

Creation exists inside the mind of God, and it’s our presence in creation that gives rise to our sense of self. We know we exist because we exist relative to the rest of creation. However, it’s also our sense of self or ego that creates an illusion of separateness; that is the notion that we can exist separate or apart from God. The human ego sabotages our relationship with God by devolving it into a clash of wills; our ego’s need to assert itself and rebel, and God’s desire to love us unconditionally.

God knows why he created us; he alone understands the purpose and reason for our existence. Life is simply our opportunity to discover that purpose, and we achieve true happiness only when we live a life that fulfills that purpose. However, if we delude ourselves into believing that our happiness is contingent upon breaking away from God, we will never understand why he created us, and will never truly be happy. True happiness, true freedom comes not when we resist God’s will, but when we surrender to it. Unfortunately, the human ego is compelled to deny the need of the divine, even to the point of self-destruction.

So, how do I know what God wants for me as an individual? Every human being is a distinct and unique part of creation that’s in an exclusive relationship with the Creator. No one else can share in or be a part of your relationship with God, because it is uniquely yours. But like any relationship, it requires the active participation of both parties.  You need to spend time with God and learn how to converse with him. That’s prayer; contemplation, meditation, immersing yourself in the divine.  As your relationship with God grows, so does your ability to discern his truth.  In other words, you’ll never know what God wants for you until you learn how to both ask and listen.

So, how do we know what God wants for us collectively?  We know what he wants because he’s already told us, “This is my commandment: love one another, as I have loved you.” But what does that really mean?

We believe that we have the prerogative to determine right and wrong, but that right belongs exclusively to God. However, our human ego compels us to reject this truth and set ourselves up as our own arbitrators of good and evil. We continually deny and reject God’s authority and love to assert our own self-assumed divinity. This is original sin, and the origin of all the sin that separates us from God.

Think about it.  We continually reject God and deny his love, yet he never stops loving us. In fact, he loves us so much that he became like us and all ways except sin, to reunite the human with the divine. God entered humanity in the person of Jesus Christ to provide us a pathway to reconciliation and salvation. As Jesus hung upon the cross, he looked to heaven and cried, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani.” “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”  This is the instant that Jesus willingly assumed the sins of the world upon himself.

Sin, the very thing that separates us from God was assumed by God. This is beyond human comprehension.  Christ, the Second Person of the Trinity, assumed the sins of the world upon himself. Tearing himself from the Father, he descended into hell, the void of God’s love, to deposit our sins, and rose again on the third day to proclaim our salvation. This is without doubt the ultimate sacrifice of self, the definitive act of divine love, and the very thing that gives purpose and meaning to our existence.

The only evidence that a Creator exists is creation itself, and although the evidence is overwhelming, it is not indisputable, because there are theories that can explain the creation of the universe without invoking a Creator.  However, those theories, like the very existence of God, can never be proven because they attempt to explain an infinite first-cause that exists beyond the boundaries of the space-time that limits the finite human mind. Believing or not believing in God is and always will be, a choice.  I choose to believe in God because I refuse to live in a universe that has no purpose or meaning.  I choose to believe in a loving, compassionate, and forgiving Christian God who will administer justice at the end of time, because both my heart and my head tell me, it’s true.