The lust for divinity

I get to back to this topic quite often as I always consider the framework for why people behave as they do.  I lead mens groups for men that are struggling with stuff  and next year my wife and I have been approved to lead Marriage Rebuilders leading groups of people in struggling marriages. So I am reminded of the get real with our problems scripture as I re-read this:

1 John 1:8
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.

The remainder of this post is a reblog:

Genesis 3

The Fall of Man

1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ “4 “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.

……..

22 And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”

—————————————————-

I have been somewhat enamored on the idea of why God did not want us to know good and evil like He did in recent years. The tree we were NOT suposed to eat from was even called the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil. For many, knowing good and evil is what Christianity is all about and the height of their being Christians.

I took off a bit early on Friday and since it was too windy to ride my motorcycle I actually rented a couple of movies to relax and take it easy from work. Since the kids and Sue were not around I decided to rent an action movie or what I call a man movie.

The movie was Beowulf. Its about a midieval danish king and the setting was a time where Glory was what made men approved by other men. They sang songs of their war victories and glories. They gloried in their conquering of women and they gloried in their magnificent feasts of drunkenness where they told stories and sang of their glories and conquests.

All cultures and individuals have a sense of something where if I have this one thing I will be approved and have glory. In asian culture if they lose their job there is so much shame they wont even tell their families. The asians also laugh at American culture who find their glory in looking thin, beauty, and wanting botox injections and cosmetic surgery.

In the movie Beowulf, he actually had more then enough glory for most men … but he lusted for this glory. IN the movie, to get the highest glory, he actually lived a lie to become the King. The root of this lie affected the relationship with his queen whom he did love and it took a toll on his soul as he live his life in complete and utter pretense about his glory.

Toward the end of the movie Beowulf, on the brink of trying to fix this life and this lie he had been living came to grips with himself when he said to his wife: ” I am not the man you think me to be. Keep a memory of me not as a King or hero, but as man fallible and flawed.” At this point in his life, Beowulf understood he had lived a life of pretense.

This might seem a bit far fetched in todays culture, but Genesis tells us that Beowulf was engaging in a carnal form of the mans original sin. The fall tells us we live lives of self-glorification as opposed to living in a trust-relationship with God and only glorifying Him. The passage above says the serpent tempted us with being “like God” or being our own god. The story of the fall also tells us that mans idea of good and evil is fatally flawed and I believe this is something most Christians do not quite get. Our undestanding of good and evil is so flawed that we actually use the idea of morality as a power play for self-glorification where instead of submitting to God we use it to build ourselves up and look good in front of other people. We do the same thing with theology. Instead of using it to glorify God we use it to look good in front of others. While we discuss morality and theology we are actually engaging in self-glorification (being our own god) and we often don’t recognize it.

What we are basically doing in this self-glorifying process is temporarily medicating ourselves with our relationships, the rightness of our popularity, the rightness or our behavior, or the rightness of our beliefs.  Quite often these more subtle sins that we medicate ourselves on are not that much different from people that struggle with extramarital affairs, online romantic affairs,  and people that view porn on the internet … except for the social stigma associated to these things.  They all have their roots in one thing… Idolatry or making something into a functional god of our heart! See mans original sin!

This is why, I believe. Romans 1:17 is so important.

17For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last,[a] just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”[b]

This verse says the only righteousness we can have is through Gods atoning sacrifice, Jesus Christ. The rest of the first part of Romans discusses our complete and utter inability to please God on our own efforts. Our only rightness, our only unmoving sense of approval can be found ONLY “in Christ”.

The point is this, I believe today our ultimate lust is a lust for divinity … to be our own gods and to live lives separate from God as we use anything at our fingertips for self-glorification. This is the message that comes from the fall of man.  Sometimes this selfish lust comes from a lust for power, sex, or money. Other times this lust comes from making a good thing into an ultimate thing like your status (social or moral) or job and work. These things became functional gods that control us. I have seen multiple examples of this in the people I meet and each story is quite unique in its idolatrous sin.  We tend to all want to turn good things into ultimate things.  Are you aware of the devastating affects of doing this?

Brothers and sisters the point is this, if we dont find our rightness in Christ we will find our rightness in some other thing we can glory in completely apart from God. If we don’t find our rightness in Christ, we WILL find our rightness in something else: relationships, materialism, beliefs (name your idol here). This list is endless.

Lets find our rightness only in Christ (Romans 1:17) so we can most fully glorify God.

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3 thoughts on “The lust for divinity

  1. Heather

    I believe today our ultimate lust is a lust for divinity … to be our own gods and to live lives separate from God as we use anything at our fingertips for self-glorification.

    Secular atheistic humanism in particular showcases man-as-god quite clearly. I’ve considered that this is ultimately where we end up when we start toying with the concept that it is okay to create one’s own reality and invent individualized guidelines as to what is right and wrong.

    If we don’t find our rightness in Christ, we WILL find our rightness in something else: relationships, materialism, beliefs (name your idol here). This list is endless.

    Indeed.

    Good post. Appreciate the reminder.

  2. Juli

    I especially found powerful and humbling at the same time, your paragraph that includes this statement, “…we actually use the idea of morality as a power play for self-glorification where instead of submitting to God we use it to build ourselves up and look good in front of other people. ….” Thought provoking ideas. Thanks for sharing.

  3. centralityofthegospel Post author

    Just to let everyone know this is not necessarily a personal interpretation. Both Luther and Calvin (probably earlier theologians) saw idolatry and works based rigtheoussness in its full light.

    Luther hit the problem spot on! Calvin had some nice quotes about idolatry in the same vein!

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