The Whole Package (2)

Jesus, upon seeing this man lying there and knowing that he had already been in that condition for a long time, *said to him, “Do you want to get well?”  John 5:6  NASB

Get well – I want to be human.  That means I need to be in conversation with You.  I want to be fulfilled.  That means I need to be obedient to You.  I want to be joyful.  That means I need to be used by You.

Does this seem too selfish?  After all, it’s all about what I want.

No, it’s not selfish because it is also exactly what You want.  You chose me.  You want me to be human, to be fulfilled and to be joyful.  In order for that to occur, You know that I must converse with You always, I must be obedient to You and I must be used by You.  My desires and Your desires converge.  For this to happen, I need to ask, “What drives me?”  What is the passionate core of who I am?  Discovering my driving force is the key to understanding how I am designed to become who I really am.  God made me with the stamp of His image built into my very existence.  If I am to become all that He intended me to be, I must grow along the line of the image He designed.  To do anything else is to move away from my true humanity.

But God also made this world a little random.  What does that mean?  Does that mean God isn’t in control?  Not at all.  It means that I matter to God’s plan.  You see, if the world doesn’t have a bit of randomness in it, if everything in the grand plan is already in place like the script of a movie and all we are doing is acting out parts already written, then I really don’t matter.  I really don’t have any ontological impact on the outcome.  If I play my role badly, then that was the part written for me.  If I play it well, then the same is true.  But if there’s a bit of randomness in the program, then what I do has a real effect on the outcome.  I matter.  What I do or don’t do changes things.  Of course, randomness means bad things can happen to good people.  Not because they were planned to happen, but because randomness is the price of human creativity.  It is built into my interaction with God and all the rest of creation.  That’s because the creation is not fundamentally rational.  It’s fundamentally relational.

“The fundamental characteristic of this creational reality is relatedness; it is foundational to the way in which the world works. . . . In other words, there is something basic about the very structures of creation—social as well as cosmic—that can be properly understood only in relational terms, indeed, in personal terms.  In and through a discernment of the many and various interrelationships that God has built into the created order, one may be more closely attuned to God’s will for that world and act accordingly.”[1]

“But the emphasis on the personal element in the figure of wisdom means that the complexities of the human personality must be more fully taken into account than the language of reason allows.”[2]

“Moreover, disorderly elements are inherent in wisdom (as with persons); such disorder is essential for creativity, growth, and the emergence of genuine novelty.”[3]

“These elements of disorder, as well as the dynamic character of wisdom, mean that one can never get a ‘fix’ on wisdom, for, as with any person, it is a being that is always in the process of becoming. . .  Those who search for wisdom will always be finding ever new dimensions of reality to be studied and will always be at least one step behind.  As with persons, wisdom is forever inexhaustible.”[4]

“Close attention to actual experience means learning to live with ambiguity.”[5]

I want to be human.  That means living with the possibility of inhuman behavior and inexplicable events.  Life is not circumscribed by reason.  It is the product of relation, and that means ambiguity.

So, do you still want to be generated whole?

Topical Index: randomness, relation, wisdom, ambiguity, John 5:6

[1] Terrence Fretheim, God and World in the Old Testament: A Relational Theology of Creation, p. 209.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid., p. 218.

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Richard Bridgan

; )

Richard Bridgan

The ongoing relation of God to his enactment of creation is a sustaining relational work, not simply an enactment of origination; and the relational content is itself his intention that the creation maintains and sustains his own satisfied well-being, the very essence of shalom. Mankind, poised and set for the work, stumbles at the first (and apparent overarching) primary hurdle—self-focused interest. It takes a willing man, a man choosing to yield his own will to that of the life that both sustains and maintains the economy and order of creation to secure the victory of that intention, acting relationally with rather than against that will and purpose. 

“…and he, Christ himself, is before all things, and in him all things are held together, and he himself is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he himself may become first in everything… that order and economy by which we… holding fast to the head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by the ligaments and sinews, grows with the growth of God.”