Sorry to single you out again, debby, but your comment sparked another series of thoughts for me. You mentioned that your role as a mother is part of your connection to knowing/understanding God. In some ways it sounded like this was a treasured epiphany for you, but in other ways you almost sounded guilty, like it cheapens God's love to compare it to our own.
I don't think that's the case at all. Christians believe that we are created in the image of God, and although there's dispute over exactly what that means, it should at least give us peace that our own thoughts, relationships and concepts aren't laughably inept and petty to God. In some mysterious way, some "image", we and God share the same experience.
Our human role of parent is often very useful to me in thinking of the divine role of creator. You see, in our Western form of Christianity we are told that the entire purpose of the universe is to glorify God. In fact, just yesterday at church a man gave a short talk about how the entire point of Jesus' life was to bring glory to the Father. Here we inevitably get back to the Trinitarian concepts that do nothing for me (wasn't Jesus really glorifying himself, if he was God?), but the man's central message was that it's all about God.
Eastern Orthodox churches have a different picture of creation. They look at God as other-oriented, at His core. This was reflected in the life of Jesus, who spent his few years of ministry healing, teaching and loving people. There's no evidence that Jesus was doing this primarily as a self-focused exercise. He genuinely cared about the people of his time, and did his best to serve them. As his core, he was other-oriented.
So compare these two pictures of God from the West and from the East -- the creator making it for his own glory, and the creator who is other-oriented and sharing something beautiful with creations he loves. Quite different pictures... are they mutually exlusive? I don't know!
What I do know is that the Eastern view of God actually meshes better with my own experience as a father. I didn't have children with the main purpose to create a generation that would take care of me. It wasn't about me receiving service or praise from little ones. No, when Jamie and I decided it was time to start a family, the reason was something much more indefinable. It was just time. We were ready to share our home, and our very selves, with new family members. We were ready to create life and nurture it, watch it grow with excitement and concern, and then one day release it to find its way in this crazy and fun universe.
So I wonder if the "why" of creation, for God, is something similar. I wonder if that's part of his image we inherited. Maybe he didn't make this whole thing just so that he'd be praised. Maybe it was something tougher to put a finger on, and it was just time. Maybe he wanted others to share in this thing called life, and then after it's over, he'll move us on to the next adventure and once again watch with excitement, concern and pride, like any good parent would.
In the end, is it still all about God? Perhaps so. But my perception of what that means has really changed over time.
Prison Diary: Christmas Sacks
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