seems that God has always been about sharing power.
The first thing he said to the freshly-created Adam & Eve was sharing power: “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” [Genesis 1] That’s sharing power.
Even earlier, as he was thinking about it, he was already clear: “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” [also Genesis 1] That’s sharing power.
He reminds us of it later: “The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD's; But the earth He has given to the children of men.” [Psalm 115]
God is about sharing power, at least on this planet. But this planet is (for now) the only place we live, so that’s not much of a practical limitation.
God has always been about sharing power with us. Or call it sharing authority. For the moment, the difference isn’t significant here.
That triggers some ugly stuff in my religious history. For a while in my history, I lived among believers who seemed to think that it was up to them to do things, and if God wasn’t busy, maybe he’d help out a little. And then I spent a whole bunch of years among a “God is all-powerful and I’m only a worm” crowd.
But the idea of God sharing power with us shoots both of those down pretty well, doesn’t it?
Do you remember the parable of the minas [Luke 19]? It’s a picture of his reward system, and the biggest reward? “Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.”
He’s sharing power again: authority over cities.
For a few years, I’ve been working on the belief that God doesn’t want to relate to us as a master and slaves. He’s a Father, for Heaven’s sake, he wants to relate to us as children, and since he’s a good Father, he wants mature children. Mature daughters and sons who can co-reign with him.
OK, that’s pretty well established. Today, we went off into the weeds a little:
If God is sharing power (on Earth), how much of his power does he share, and how much does he keep for himself?
I get that it’s reasonable to assume that everything that we do as his sons and daughters, well he’s in us, so he’s doing that work, not us. Stop it! That’s religious double-talk. He NEVER said, “We’ll let them think they have authority over creation, but we’ll keep it all for ourselves and just let them pretend to be kings and priests.”
That’s a pretty ugly accusation against a loving Father. I should know; I thought that way for quite a while.
For the moment, let’s assume that when God says, “...he earth He has given to the children of men,” that he meant it.
The question I’m pondering right now is more about how much: How much of the authority on this planet does he keep for himself and how much is he delegating to the human species (that would be you and me, you understand)?
• Some have argued that he started the machine running, but nowadays, it’s largely up to us. (“The earth He has given to the children of men,” remember?)
• Some propose that we don’t have any authority of our own, but we just get to hold his hand while he does kingly stuff sometimes. (“In him we live and move and have our being.” [Acts 17:28])
• I’m thinking that sharing means sharing. He has some, we have some, but mostly, we both have our hand in the pot. If we’re smart, we’ll invite him to come with us when we lead and we’ll go with him where he’s leading.
How do you figure that works out? How do you see it?