When Eve ate fruit from a tree and decided that she wanted to be like God, she, and all of us with her, hid from God.
The Almighty God, who knows all things, can do all things, and can be everywhere, asked the man, “Where are you?” They answered, and because of their rebellion against God’s commandment, they were cast out of the garden.
The first couple took the gift of perfect community with God and sold it for a curse. From that day until now, and for every day until Jesus returns, we roam the earth, searching for anyone and anything to fill the God-shaped hole in us.
We long for community, and we long to be like God. We want omni-autonomy and omni-presence in our relationships. Omni-autonomy is our desire to be individuals, not bound by another, and wholly separate from others. We want to be like God. Omni-presence is our desire to be everywhere, not bound by place or time, and wholly accessible to others. We want to be like God.
Yet we are not omni-anything.
We are autonomous, but with limits – we image God in our individual bodies, thoughts, feelings, and soul. We are separate people, not homogenous blobs. But we are bound by others whether we like it or not. As babies, we were dependent on our caretakers to keep us alive. As we age, we become dependent once again on caretakers to sustain our life. Between those stages of life, we depend on farmers to provide food, police officers to protect from danger, and mechanics to keep cars running. You and I are dependent on someone for something, always.
We are present, but with limits – we image God in our ability to be with others, to commune with them, and to participate in the world around us. We do not dissipate into the background of a room. We affect the world around us with our actions, both positive and negative. Our presence is bound to the room that we’re in, and latitude and longitude is not ours to twist to fit our desires. We cannot be in two places at once. Only one place at a time can hold our bodies. The creation of the smartphones in our pockets is a testament to the longing in our hearts to be with others in places that we are not.
When we try to be more autonomous than God made us to exist, we start to serve ourselves and our needs over others. When we try to be in more places than God made us to dwell, we start to disconnect and be distant from those around us.
Our community with God and our community with one another was broken by our sin. But the broken body of Jesus makes right the wounds we caused.
God dressed Himself in our limits. Jesus made Himself subject to God’s will, dependent on parents and farmers like we are. He made Himself Earthbound, traveling by foot and moving from city to city like we do.
And why did He do this? Why give up the autonomy and presence every human wants?
“And what if God, wanting to display his wrath and to make his power known, endured with much patience objects of wrath prepared for destruction? And what if he did this to make known the riches of his glory on objects of mercy that he prepared beforehand for glory – on us, the ones he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? As it also says in Hosea,
I will call Not My People, My People,
and she who is Unloved, Beloved.
And it will be in the place where they were told,
You are not my people,
There they will be called sons of the living God.” – (Romans 9:22-26)
He did it for us. We were not loved, we were not God’s people – we rebelled against God. To be like God was our great sin, and yet we must be like God to live. But only God can be like God.
Jesus, “existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be exploited. Instead, he emptied himself by assuming the form of a servant, taking on the likeness of humanity. And when he had come as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death – even to death on a cross.” – (Philippians 2:6-8).
All our longing for God-likeness is only wrong when we strive for it in and of ourselves. Look to Jesus, Christians, and trust His God-ness for your hope. Trust Him to bring you comfort as you journey in this land. You will always fight the temptation to be something that you are not, so rest in the Someone who was and is and is to come (Revelation 1:8).