Human beings were not created good, or perfect, or programmed. Human beings were created free. This, for me, is what it means when we say human beings were created in the image of God. God is free and God made us free. We are free to choose love or hate, free to choose God’s way or our way, we are free to be!
The Bible is the story of this “free human being” who chose to be other than God wanted him/her to be. The biblical story is the record of what God did to win that free creature back—the story of the Lover seeking the beloved. God’s dream is that of a “friendly world of friendly folk beneath a friendly sky,” where human beings choose love, community, peace, etc.
Will this dream ever become reality (the kingdoms of this world become the Kingdom of God)? Who knows? My calling is to dream the dream of God and to work for its fulfillment in my small corner of this broken world. Do I think hate will cease and wars end? Do I believe that the world is going to become better and better and someday God will congratulate us on bringing God’s dream to fruition. Of course not! Quite the contrary is true. Jesus, Paul, Peter, John and all the rest of the New Testament personalities never seriously considered human perfectibility in this world. Rather it seems, they saw this life as preparation, the training-ground, the place where God begins God’s work of loving us, wooing us (in our freedom) to become all God means for us to be.
|Zion National Park|
We are told (in the New Testament) again and again not to value this world as our home. Neither our security nor our true wealth is rooted in this passing life. We are strangers and pilgrims and, while we are under the pressure of God’s dream to do all that we can to help bring that dream to reality, we do not expect a world which is now largely Love-resisting to become some earthly paradise. The World Beyond penetrates this world in which we live and from which we shall someday go—and that World Beyond is our home.