A New Creation
Perhaps our familiarity with the concept of infinity has, paradoxically, inhibited our modern ability to understand God.
Without thinking we equate the two. God is “infinitely powerful,” “infinitely knowing,” “infinitely present.” But as our popular concept of infinity expands into new commonplace tropes--multiverse, and the like--I wonder if we’ve not mistaken entertainment for serious thought. Multiverse makes an excellent crutch for a comic book author trying to cram her narrative into a crowded timeline. But I have a bone to pick--have we actually begun to take it for granted?
The reason I single out this idea is because marrying our commonplace ideas of infinity and multiverse with God creates bizarre theologies. Now God knows everything you may possibly do. Now God knows which one you will do in this timeline. God sees the whole board, he’s counted all the pieces, he’s placed his bet--now make the right move or he’s out of a lot of money, and he’ll be really upset.
But “God does not play dice,” we suppose. We are stuck in the half-formed philosophy that God already knows everything. This philosophy has been unshakable because it grants a real benefit to its adherents: it is a comforting blanket which reminds us that “everything will go according to God’s plan.” Break out Jeremiah 29:11!
Except, as anyone who has encountered suffering knows, there is the moment when “everything is according to plan” becomes a horrifying concept. Adherents are forced to attempt to comfort the grieving with this same sentiment, with resounding failure. The wise realize this is futile and temporarily shelf their concept of God for the sake of loving the broken.
Putting away the “truth” in order to minister! Could that not be a sign that the “truth” is not worth taking back out again?
As comforting as it may be to think that one’s life is ordained for success by a sacred plan, wouldn’t it be more comforting to believe that failure was never a possibility to begin with, so no plan was needed? In other words, what if God truly has defeated death?
Now to the point. Suppose we, though lowly human creatures, could make something new. Suppose we could formulate something which God could look at and admire. I am not talking about a new smartphone. I am talking about ourselves.
Yet “without him nothing was made that has been made.” And yet, “in him we move and have our being.” We are already in Christ. We are therefore “a new creation.” Is it so far to leap to say we might therefore be creating something new? For Christ is not dead, but is still alive in us and working through us.
Could it be that as we reflect God, we do it with our own face--and we are therefore presenting something previously unknown, even to God? How quickly our popular notion of God’s omniscience will object to this idea. Could there really be anything unknown to God? And, truly, there could not--but in the act of becoming, it is known; for something to become we really only mean to be known by God. Since God is in us, what we create was never hidden to be revealed later, but the moment we conceive of it, God also conceives of it; in fact it is the same conception.
When we, therefore, present ourselves as offerings to God, do we not in fact give God joy? For if what we were was already possessed by God, our offering would be a mere exercise in our own effort of holiness; empty of any true gift and reduced only to a lesson we must learn about sacrifice, with the Holy God looking on and nodding a slight (bored?) approval.
But suppose God really wanted to have us but did not have us! Suppose God poured the Spirit into us so that we would create a new thing which we could present back to God! That is a true gift, and a true creation.