Imagine that you are God. I’m not sure that I’ve ever asked anyone to do this before, but bear with me. Imagine that you are God and that you are capable of creating something out of nothing. You’re not just an inventor who uses preexisting components in new and unique ways; no, you are a creator – you speak and things come into existence. You use this ability to create a habitat full of provision, conducive to community, and primed for pleasure. Into this perfect habitat you place the pinnacle of your creation – a newly formed being that, unlike the components of the habitat, shares a diminished level of your amazing abilities. This new being will be creative. He will love. He will not just remember and react, he will plan and dream. After all of this work is done, you take a look down and see the perfection of everything that you created. You give some basic instructions to the being of how to use or not use the habitat. You can’t help but enjoy every bit of activity that the new being does in his new habitat because everything he does demonstrates the greatness of your creation – and you truly love him.
But then something goes wrong. The being, aware of your creative work, becomes suspicious of your motives. Despite the fact that you have created this entire habitat for this being and have equipped him with so much more than the other created things, he wants more and believes that you’re holding out on the good stuff. So he, believing himself to be wise (although he should clearly know that only you are truly wise), decides to rebel against you by disobeying your instructions for him. Immediately, the pleasure you have in this creation is gone and all of his actions, all the time, are offense and rebellion against you.
So, what do you do? Remember, it was nothing for you to create all of this in the first place. The habitat was created with just some breath. The being was an easy creation too – just because it pleased you to create him. So now that he is no longer pleasing, wouldn’t it just be easiest to wipe the slate and start over. Just a few breathes is all that it will take. Plus, no real loss because your next created being might be pleasing for much longer. As all powerful creator, wouldn’t it just make sense to start over?
When God was faced with this situation, He didn’t just wipe the slate and start over. Instead, He did what seems to be the most ridiculous solution possible – He took on the form of one of the creatures. He lowered Himself into the habitat to demonstrate righteousness, pay the price for the rebellion, and reconcile the beings back to their Creator. He endured insult, attack, beatings, and even death. He was the only one qualified to do this work, so He did it. He could have started over with a new creation, but He didn’t. As the result, human beings have the unmerited privilege to get a second chance with God. And those who trust in Jesus – God who came to earth to do this work – also have daily hope that nothing in this world can separate them from the love of God. This world may hurt, but eternity is secure in Jesus. This truth is fragrance of life to those who believe and the stench of death to those who do not.
Saints, followers of Jesus Christ, may at times lose perspective and begin to think that the trials and challenges of living in this broken habitat are the most important things. But we must remember the audacity of Jesus and the sacrifice He made to retrain our thoughts and our hope onto eternal things. In this way, God again looks down with pleasure on His creation. And we look up in joyous thanks to the One to whom we owe our very existence and in whom we have life.