The Bible, A Unification Perspective
Growth & Human Responsibility
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable -- if anything is excellent or praise- worthy -- think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me -- put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." Philippians 4:8-9
Over the years that I've studied the Bible, this topic, in my opinion, lies at the heart of many important issues, and in fact there are virtually none that are untouched by it in one way or another. Issues of Predestination, Prophecy, The Fall Man, Salvation, the life of Jesus and the Second Coming of Christ, all can be better understood starting here, with Growth & Human Responsibility. So I approach this topic profoundly challenged by it's myriad threads of implication.
from Genesis that God regards all other creatures, the birds, fish, animals and
all the various other forms of life as minor creations compared to man
and woman. Since it is they who must rule and exercise
dominion over them all, as well as the whole of the earth. Man and
woman appear on the scene as God's finale,, and masterpiece.
Gen 1:26 "Let's make man after our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth."
It is truly a blessing and a responsibility.
All the plants,
insects, fish, birds and all other life however, have in
They grow automatically to reach their own perfection and maturity. Their growth doesn't require of them anything they can't find inherently within themselves and their environment. They grow autonomously through the power of God's energy and the nutrients available from their surroundings. They are ruled by and depend upon their own instincts for survival.
Man also will grow physically through childhood, adolescence and then reach maturity as long as he receives necessary life elements from the environment.
Then what is *perfection* for man? According to the Bible man has two bodies,, the physical and the spiritual.
I Corinthians 15:44 "If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body"
As our physical body needs to grow, so does our spiritual body need to grow, and it does so through time and in accordance with life experience and certain 'life elements'. There is a strict cause and effect relationship between our earthly life, how it's lived, and the result it reaps for our spirit in the next life.
As Jesus said, "I give you the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, whatever is bound on earth, is bound in Heaven, and whatever is loosed on earth, is loosed in Heaven." Matt 16:19
The 'life elements' that our spirit needs for it's earthly growth is first of all, God's love and truth. God's love and truth to the spirit body are like air and sunlight to the physical body. And as we receive, inherit and embody these life elements from God, our spirit grows closer to Him.
Though these elements are given by God, they are elements which we must actively and faithfully embrace and apply to our daily life.
Our actions and deeds motivated by truth and love, therefore, play a role in shaping our habits, character and heart. It's not through instinct that man responds to God, but through conscious thought and acts of our own free will. Therefore God has always asked us to treat His words with honor,, and place them deep in our hearts and in the center of our lives.
Deut 6:6 These words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
Keeping faith in God's word therefore is man's portion of responsibility, which only man can fulfill. Not even God will violate this principle. There are several reasons for this which we'll discuss later,, but one of these relates to man's position and responsibility as ruler over creation.
Since God is the creator of life and the universe, it is only right that God should be the only ruler, and exercise dominion over His creation. For man to be qualified to rule over creation then he must have qualifications to do so, and be superior to it. By giving man free will and his own portion of responsibility, God is then placing man in the position of co-creator with God. And by fulfilling his responsibility in faith, and by growing into oneness with God, man can then be truly qualified to stand as the Lord of Creation. In that way fulfilling a responsibility given to no other being or creature in the creation.
Therefore, preserving man's ultimate position as Lord of Creation, for God, it means not acting or entering into an area that is man's responsibility alone to fulfill. We can then understand that this is one of the reasons why God does not act to prevent evil, nor did he stop the fall of man, because it was man's responsibility to have faith in God's words and reject all temptations to the contrary.
God's portion of responsibility extended through the creation of the universe, the world and man. To place a number on it we can say that God shouldered 95% of the responsibility in the creation process. The final act of God in fulfilling His portion of responsibility was in giving Adam & Eve the commandment. Giving his word or warning. Man's 5% responsibility, though smaller, is no less important to the overall fulfillment of God's will, which is the union of God and man into one heart and in one love.
This of course leaves the question of, 'how is God then going to deal with evil in man and the world? This will become very clear as we approach our discussion of the life and mission of Jesus. But for now I wish to emphasize the point that man's faithful response to God, and his fulfilling his own portion of responsibility is absolute and crucial to God. It is an immovable pillar and an unchanging principle of creation.
great are God’s intentions to bless and save fallen man through the
Messiah, this fundamental truth is still unaltered.