Phoebe: we are like Little People.
Phoebe: ’cause God is bigger than us.
Phoebe draws out one of the biggest questions in theology.
In the aftermath of a great natural disaster you can find preachers prophesying God’s judgment (unless the tragedy happened in the Bible Belt). During a personal crisis I have heard people declare their suffering – or another’s – was part of God’s plan. This worldview seems to be the flat world of a chess board. God moving pieces…
And this worldview may be correct. An omnipotent God may do as He chooses. If He could explode the universe from nothing – then we are simply ants. Or Little People. Plus the scripture points to events predestined – events already decided. Chess pieces moving…
Yet the story of the scripture declares us more than ants (or at least that we are loved ants). And the story is constantly posing a question, will the created follow the creator? Jesus literally came calling “Follow me.” If this choice is predestined, why did He go to such lengths to establish the choice?
Can God be all-powerful and not be in control? Does theology have to be flat or can it be round and complicated – where some events (the cross, the end) are predestined. Others are an open choice.
For choice to be real, then God must let go of control. The downside of choice is that defying God creates sin. A force so powerful it brings all of creation into decline. A force that creates the tidal waves and cancers and bullets and … a force that is outside the control of the creator.
To say, “God is in control” or “This is God’s plan” brings some comfort. Just like a flat world brings some comfort. It is simple. It seems to make sense (watching day to day, the sun appears to rotate around the earth). But it breaks down at the edges. Literally we fall off the edge when our theology is too flat.*
* How does it fall off the edge? If God is fully in control – causing everything, then He is in control of sin. It must even be that He is the cause and creator of sin.
A round world removes the chess board theology and deals seriously with the question and reality of choice. In this world, where our choices matter, we are constantly reminded of our failings – reminded that we are the creator of one thing: sin. But this is also a world built for journey. We travel and never fall off the edge. We may circle back around and never find all the answers to theology’s questions. But in everything we are given the choice to experience Jesus’ call, “Come and follow me.”
And this journey proves to be the answer. As we walk with the Creator we become His Little People.
Speaking of the awesomeness of our Creator…
Mercury, the closest planet to our sun, is shrinking (here are the details). Its iron core is cooling, which means it is also shrinking in size. This causes the outer surface of the planet, which is a single piece, to contract in toward the core. This creates huge stress fractures and ruptures. Amazingly, every planet is cooling – according to scientists. But Earth has tectonic plates that support the surface, allowing the the surface to adjust to the cooling core (the plates float on the still liquid core). We live in an amazing place.
7 thoughts on “Little People”
Interesting post, as usual. You probably haven’t seen it, but I think you would really enjoy the HBO series True Detective that just came out. This post sounds a little like one of the main character’s monologues. “Time is a flat circle…”
We do not have HBO, but I have heard it is great. And the quote definitely makes me interested.
The literalists and fundamentalists of Columbus’s day were sure that he would fall off the edge of the earth.
Good thoughts, Sean.
Thanks Wilma! Always good to get your encouragement.
It’s funny how easily we accept mysteries of God being eternal, outside of time, or the Trinity itself, but yet we stubbornly form a rigid theology that ignores half of the witness of Scripture on a topic like choice. We want the death match, verse vs. verse.
I think it’s a false dilemma. We only misunderstand because can’t accept that choice and sovereignty do apparently exist side by side, and maybe even more in one scenario than another.
God just doesn’t seem to like the little boxes we created for him.
Not his problem, obviously… but ours.
Great comment. Thanks Grant. You are right about God. Our little boxes are just stepping stones He passes through. He is much bigger and greater than we imagine!