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Day 75: A Family of Loving Individuals

by Ernest O'Neill

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Our Maker loves his only Son – whom we know as the human-being called Jesus of Nazareth in Palestine in the first century.  They live in perfect harmony outside time and want us to live with them and love them and be like them.  But we can love only if we are free not to love, so our Maker has made us in his son so that we are free to let him develop the earth for his father through us or we are free to develop it for ourselves.

But he knew that this could be real only if we were free to see what life was like without him, so he made it possible for us to ignore his son within us and develop the world by powers and methods that are opposite to his.  But since there is no existence outside God, even our temporal disasters can only occur inside his Son’s participation in us while their eternal transformation has to occur outside time in his Son’s oneness with His father.  Thus each one of us can exert our own free will and degrade the world or we can exert Christ’s will and develop the universe.  In either case we are enabled by our creator’s ‘steadfast love which never ceases and his mercies that never come to an end but are new every morning’.  Our maker is committed to letting us have our way until we finally allow him to have his way.  His continual love and providence express an eternal life that has power to change and transform.

Often we do things that should cause us intense pain or disaster but we escape both by some magical intervention while at other times our success seems far beyond what our effort justifies. In both cases there seems to be some providential over-drive that supplements the action of our wills.

That’s, of course, exactly what is happening.  Our maker knows precisely what he has made – he knows you and me intimately along with the details of all the events and actions we will engage in.  He also knows what actions we will take and what will strengthen our freedom and what will restrict it – what will dictate our decisions and what will liberate them!  He works continuously to apply the benefits of the eternal, renewed world to our temporal, fallen world as our wills freely express his son’s will.  Throughout all this complex syncretism (as he “works and we work also”), his own will for hearts like his Son’s carefully preserves our real freedom as we retain the power to “work out our own salvation” even though we are his “workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works that he has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them”.

The creator’s commitment to the freedom of our wills is expressed forever in letting the human race crucify his only son.  One who exercises his will in that instance cannot be doubted in his respect for each of our wills.  So despite all God’s undoubted ability to foresee and modify circumstances, we can be certain that he wants above all else to have sons and daughters who can love him freely as his own son does: “it is not his will that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance”.

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