Sunday, December 4, 2022

Reconciling being made in the image

 One of my favorite songs by the Rocket Summer, "Just A Moment Forget Who You Are" has a line in it where it says, "Because who you are is perfect. You were made in the image of greatness." In Bryce Avery's only slightly subtle way, he is referencing that we as humans are made in the image of God. And taking that we are made in the image of God, that we made to be something that is all good and true and loving, doesn't that mean that we should be good? 

Mr. Avery isn't the newest to comment on people being made of good. However, there seem to be a prevailing cultural idea that people are awful and bad. I think we have taken the idea of original sin and made it become that people are just these vile things that need to be killed in order for there to be good in the world. This doesn't seem right. 

I am wondering, how do we as a society reconcile being good inside with the idea of original sin. Because according to original sin we are prone to always choose the bad thing, but it can't be as black and white as that. If you take the garden of Eden scene where you have people choosing to do evil, to go against what was good for them, how does this make sense with us having good inside? Because to me we have to have good inside for this all to be worth it.

Science seems to be leaning towards people not having needs met which leads them to have behaviors that are non productive toward actually getting the need met but are correlated with not having that need met. So what do we do with this? Is it possible to have original sin make sense and also be good inside? 

I have been often told that a sign of growing is to see that two opposing truths can be possible at the same time. Where is that here? Is it possible to have the ability to choose to do bad things and also be good inside? I think so. But where does this leave God? What need was God not providing that led Adam and Eve to go and do something contrary to what was supposed to be all good and true? Or was it simply a curiosity killed the cat measure, and what does that mean anyway? I remember learning in the book, THE Neuroscience of You, that more curiosity can lead to more vulnerability and when taken to more extreme measures it can actually be detrimental. Is this coming into play here? Was their curiosity too much?

I really do struggle with the cultural idea that we are not worthy of God's love. This makes no sense to me because if he is a father in the way that a child should know a father, we are loved. He wouldn't be all loving if we weren't? Yes, he does let us go and figure it out on our own, sometimes terribly, but we are loved. If we aren't loved, I am not sure that's a God I want to do everything for in my life. 

But this doesn't mean that everything that I do is excusable in the sense that it doesn't matter if I go kill someone or degrade them with my words because no matter what I am loved. First, that person is also loved. And second, we want to be trying to display that love to others, in our imperfectness, we still can show that love. Shouting or murdering others isn't love. We all have dignity and that dignity is represented best when needs are met and people are treated well with love. And love isn't destroying the other person, its finding connection and bringing them closer to the source of love. We were made in the image of God. 

What does this do exactly for the doctrine of original sin, I am not entirely sure if I've figured out, but I know for me I need a God that loves me no matter what and loves who ever I am in conflict with no matter what, but that encourages us to find that dignity and beauty in everyone around us, and encourages us to apologize and make amends when we mess up to remember that dignity of self and other. A God that wants us to fight for the people really being stripped of this dignity and love. I will continue to try to do that, I was made in the image of greatness (and so were you) after all. 

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