Sunday, August 30, 2009

Last-Gasp Victories and Perfect(ed) Freedom

The rules of football states that the winning team gets 3 points, whether they thump their opponents 4-0 or score the winning goal four minutes into extra-time. No fan prefers a nail-biting finish and would much rather start the second-half with a three goal lead. Yet no fan will deny that seeing their team snatch victory from the jaws of a draw - a mere seconds before the referee blew the final whistle - is a feeling like no other.

If there are alternative routes towards achieving an intended end, the more torturous one, ironically, can produce a more ecstatic outcome.

I recall many years ago debating with a friend about
why God couldn't create us perfectly free to obey him. This doesn't sound logically impossible, given that at our resurrection we would (eventually, at least) be free of sin and deviant choices and our love and adoration can be all that God intended it to be: completely flawless and faithful. So why couldn't this happen at the start? Why the mess, terror and tragedies of this journey we call creation?

My response then, as it remains now, is that creaturely perfection comes as a reward at the end of the process of deciding - day in day out, moment by moment - to tilt our hearts God's way. Wegrow into volitional, affective and worshipful excellence.

Being is a function of becoming. Purpose needs process (something which
may not be restricted to merely this side of heaven). It's almost as if God demands that we feel the exhiliration of winning by a last-minute goal. To ask why God couldn't make Adam without the capacity to sin is to talk about a different category of reality than even God knows. He's not satisfied with an 'effortless' victory and casual pats on the back.

He's a cheerleader God who wants every game to be an awesome jumping-for-joy celebration of accomplishment and success. Is it risky? You bet. Will it be worth it? Now, who do you think ought to be the judge of

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