agnosticism, atheism, Buddhism, centrifigal, centripetal, child of God, choice, free will, GK Chesterton, God's love, Hinduism, Jainism, JB Phillips, John 1, materialism, power, redemption, Romans 8, Sikhism, Sons of God
“The cross opens its arms to the four winds; it is a signpost for free travelers.” – GK Chesterton
Any number of beliefs on destiny, including materialism, are by nature centripetal in this respect: that they move towards a collapsing center. Buddhism, all will be extinguished; Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Hinduism, for all the gods, has a great destiny in the extinguishment of nirvana, a blowing out. Atheism and agnosticism is materialism dressed in fine words: the endpoint of these is the grave.
Christianity moves centrifugally; outwards, expanding and extending. It’s not God’s way to extinguish His good works: He will to bring them to blossom–eventually–in a great symphony of blooms. At the center of Christianity is the Son of Man and the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who is the Fixed Point for all. Though God is limitless, yet He became a Son, demonstrating that He can do two opposite things at once: He can give men power to love Him without forcing Him to love Him. This becomes our starting point (and the engine, if you will) of loving all good things He has created.
“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” – John 1:12-13
It is only the strong who can give the power to the weaker. In this circumstance, that of being a Christian, God shifted the responsibility for power to us (He has that authority). At this moment, this evening, night, this afternoon: though all-powerful and all-knowing, He stooped (figuratively) to give us the dignity of apparent causality in “real time.” And He said, “No, it is your choice. If you wish to be my child, I want you to desire it.” (Little do we realize that desire to love becomes our greatest human asset.)
I like to freely interpret this verse, “Those who received him, He rushed over and crushed them to Him in the embrace of a loving parent; not because of who they were, or what they had done for him, but because He had been longing for this moment.”
And once you’re His, the world, the universe starts to open up: you’re imbued with a special sense for beauty, your sensitivities are heightened, your desire is finely tuned in to detect wonders, large and small. You begin to see the great plain of the world as waiting to be reworked–reworked to reflect His goodness, justice, mercy, and beauty.
“…whatever we may have to go through now is less than nothing compared with the magnificent future God has planned for us. The whole creation is on tiptoe to see the wonderful sight of the sons of God coming into their own. The world of creation cannot as yet see reality, not because it chooses to be blind, but because in God’s purpose it has been so limited—yet it has been given hope. And the hope is that in the end the whole of created life will be rescued from the tyranny of change and decay, and have its share in that magnificent liberty which can only belong to the children of God! It is plain to anyone with eyes to see that at the present time all created life groans in a sort of universal travail. And it is plain, too, that we who have a foretaste of the Spirit are in a state of painful tension, while we wait for that redemption of our bodies which will mean that at last we have realised our full sonship in him.” (JB Phillips New Testament of Romans 8:18-25)