I never thought of God as an irresponsible parent. Sometimes I’ve thought He was cold or indifferent or distant. I’ve thought of Him as cruel on occasion, perhaps random and mean but never irresponsible. But maybe I should reconsider?
You see, in the beginning, God created all things. He created the vast spinning cosmos and the helix of our DNA. He created the massive blue whale and tiny field mouse. Then He created Adam and Eve, and He planted a garden for them in Eden. It was all going so well.
But then He planted two trees in the garden, the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He gave Adam and Eve a choice, and that’s okay, that’s not irresponsible. However, in the garden was a serpent and the serpent had murder on his mind. Murder and the total destruction of Adam, Eve and all humanity.
Picture the scene. A tranquil garden, two perfect people, two powerful trees and a murderous serpent. A toxic mix, a set up so dangerous that all of creation hung in the balance.
Then God left the picture.
He’s gone. He’s nowhere to be seen. He left His perfect creation, His two beautiful children alone with a serpent. Is He crazy? Is He naive? Is He utterly irresponsible? What was He thinking? How could God leave His beloved creation alone, unguarded and unprotected with a dangerous enemy?
In that question lies the answer. Adam and Eve weren’t unguarded or unprotected, and God wasn’t irresponsible. They were made in the image of God, which means they were more than powerful enough to deal with a lying serpent.
They had the divine power of choice. They could choose to obey God or obey the serpent. They had all they needed to win the battle in the garden. But they didn’t win, all humanity fell, and the all-knowing God knew that would happen. Why then did He leave them alone?
It’s such a simple word. Freedom. God valued freedom more than certainty. He valued freedom more than safety, protection and comfort. He valued freedom more than consequences, more than a mess, more than sin. He gave up the security of controlling Adam and Eve for their freedom to choose, even knowing they would choose badly. He values freedom that highly.
Without freedom, there is no love, and for Him, love is the greatest prize. It is who He is. It is His very nature, His total being, He is love. Pure, perfect and whole. Love only comes from freedom. Freedom to choose, even to choose badly. For Him, it’s worth the risk. He bestows total freedom on you and on me. Freedom to choose life or to choose death. Freedom to lift our hands and worship Him as king or spit in His face and never look at Him again. We are free to choose. Free to choose to pray, to give, to sing, to live our lives as an offering to Him or free to do our own will.
We are free. You are free, I am free. That’s the way He wants it, the way He always planned it. He freely chooses us and asks us to freely choose Him in return. No controls, no guilt, no manipulation, utterly free.
Live full, live free.