One the surface, a statement that states that God is not the All Powerful, Supreme Being seems like heresy and perversion of what we know of God. When I was thinking about what it took for God to leave the Supreme Power of God to become one of us, with all our human limitations, fears, and temptations to do evil (Phil 2:5), I saw the sign of contradiction once again. God becomes human nature. This got me thinking about the limitations God might have, which to my mind are not limitations as much as signs of His love for me. Free will is such a condition to be human. Along with it comes the responsibility not only to choose, but to select what is authentic and consistent with who God is.
Once again, that document that sets forth who humans are and their limitations is central to an understanding of choice. God gives Adam and Eve the supervision of his garden with all living things and tells them there is one thing they must not do. They must not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Sounds straightforward enough. God gives them a job with no books, no boundaries except one. Guess what our human nature does? It is what Israel did and continues to do with God, to grumble and complain that God’s rules and statutes are too difficult to do and they want out. They turn to other idols and worship the Golden Calf or humans who say they are god.
What do Adam and Eve do? They choose to be like god, the archetype of Original Sin into which we are all born. God does not stop them. Ever ask yourself why God would create something that could say “no” to him? God could, but does not stop the evil that people do.
The story of Jesus not being able to do miracles for people because of their lack of belief points out a seeming limitation of God. Why can’t God just make people believe? Even Jesus, who is both God and human, could do nothing for people because of their unbelief. Unbelief means I block grace from entering my spirit. I am my own god. The opposite of that is true, if I believe in God, great things can happen to me. So, my belief, joined with God’s gift of Faith, produces love. Another definition of sin is, blocking God’s love.
Philippians 2:5-12 points out that this love of the Father for us had no blockages. That Jesus had to become human so that he could restore love once denied it a tribute to that lasting love of God, a lesson from which we can learn how to love one another as Christ loved us.
One of the things I try to do, with sometimes more success than at other times, is contemplation. Removing the blocks that keep us from unbelieving is a focus of mine as of late. That means, I come, in silence and solitude, to sit on a park bench in the dead of Winter to wait for Christ to show up. If I automatically demanded that he show up, this would limit God’s freedom. I take away from my mind the block of words, of flooding my mind with prayers upon prayers, with giving up all expectation that I will be receiving my requests, even for humility and obedience to God’s will. It is what the late Dom Andre Louf calls the approach towards nothingness (which is actually everything there is). When thinking about all of these very esoteric and eclectic ideas swirling in my mind, it struck me this is what happened in Philippians 2:5-12 when it speaks of emptying of one’s nature. The Greek word is kenosis, dumping all extraneous baggage, in this case because of love. If the people in the synagogue of Jesus’ time had kenosis, they would have received signs and wonders beyond their dreams. The same goes true for each of us. We must be willing to deny oneself and take up our cross each day to follow Christ. To do that we need kenosis. We only get kenosis when we ask for it, a gift of Faith from God.
Matthew 13: The Rejection of Jesus at Nazareth
54 He came to his hometown and began to teach the people in their synagogue, so that they were astounded and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these deeds of power? 55 Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? 56 And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all this?” 57 And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “Prophets are not without honor except in their own country and in their own house.” 58 And he did not do many deeds of power there, because of their unbelief.