Journey: Life On Whose Terms?

Read: The Drama of Desire

One of our formative experiences is to begin with original righteousness, not original sin.  The first two chapters in Genesis show us, however briefly, what God intended, and how the world is supposed to be.

It was a world of congruence, with each dimension reflecting the glory of God and fulfilling the purpose God had in mind.  It was a world of beauty and harmony.  Far from being bland or boring, it was a place where desire existed.  The communion between God and humanity was one of joy and fellowship.  Ordered in relation to God, our desires were passionate, pleasurable, and proper.

And then….sin.  Summed up in the single word ‘egotism.’  Desire for God deteriorated into humanity’s craving to be gods.  Our orientation shifted from God-glorification to self-gratification.  And if two or more people are on this path, there will eventually  be blame and rivalry–the collision of egos.  And that is exactly what we see in Genesis 3 and following.  There can only be one ego in charge where sin prevails.

And so it has been ever since.  Whether the one ego is personal or corporate (e.g. “group think”), there is only room for “me.”  The originating sin produces a host of things–all having to do with the exaltation and preservation of the false self. 

McLaren rightly weighs into this by emphasizing that the problem is not eliminating desire, but rather restoring it to the place that it had before the Fall.  The God who desired to make the world desires for us to desire to be co-creators in the ongoing making of it, and to do so on God’s terms, not ours.

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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