Monday, March 19, 2007

Pride and who we are

The first sin of man was Pride, "the movement whereby a creature (that is an essentially dependent being whose principle of existence lies not in itself but in another) tries to set up on its own, to exist for itself." (The Problem of Pain C.S. Lewis) We are entirely dependent on God to survive, whether or not we acknowledge it is up to our free will. The very fact that God allows free will means that we have been given the option to live without any contact with God. But the issue arises that since we are dependent on this "other" how can we expect to survive if we don't draw from it?

If we grew up in a Christian home, or even a moral home, our parents taught us to obey their authority so that, when we became of the appropriate age, we would obey the greater authorities. This was done in order for us to be law abiding citizens, or willingly say to God "here am I, send me." We understand obedience to God because of our obedience to God's authority wielders. In the same way, we were dependent on our parents for every need growing up. When we came to the appropriate age we became independent. Now, you would think that this would result in the same conclusion, independence from parents, independence from God. However, God calls us to grow ever more dependent on him. In fact the natural order that God intended was complete dependence in every aspect.

Adam and Eve in the garden had such a relationship with God, that involved giving up their selves, it was a choice but a very easy choice then. The concept of self was there but it was not sullied by the history of the human race, or tempted as such by the world system that is in place today. Yet, they had the same directive that we have today: die daily to the self that lies within in order to become more yourself. God designed us to be vessels, open containers, that give and receive freely to and from God. He designed all of humanity to live in such a way that nothing is owned, it is shared and given. I'm not advocating communism, I'm pointing out that we weren't meant to be independent.

The world around us is screaming for us to rely on no one but ourselves. To throw off any measure of authority that might hold us down. So no wonder it is difficult to realize how dependent we should be. I've been taught my whole life to create my own empire, to make sure that every action I take is beneficial to me and my kingdom. But my strength will eventually fail. Even if it never failed and I became rich and famous, my design would still be the same, I would still require the things that only my Designer can provide.

This idea of dependence makes it clear why Jesus said it was practically impossible for those with much wealth, to enter the kingdom of heaven. Since all their needs are taken care of and all their actions seem right to them, they will rarely come to a place where their independence from God is visible. Whereas those on the street corners, or living lives of debauchery, will more readily come to a place of need.

The problem with sin is that it works for awhile and for some their entire lives. It shades us in a veil of darkness, and only pain or suffering can ever wake us up from that, to turn to God. God humbly accepts us even when we come to him with nothing to give, because, well, we have nothing to offer except ourselves.

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