Although the apex of God’s creation is humanity, the creation of reality is a relational process that includes both God and humanity. The creation of reality is seldom considered as something to be in awe of or to be grateful for; it is important to think deeply about reality within the context of possibility and theology.
Reality is a person’s ontological experience of life with other human beings, their perception of God, and the world.
Reality is the sphere of both God’s presence and absence, of humanity’s choices that are either in accord with God or opposed to God’s participation in reality.
Reality creation within the limits of existence is always a choice for the powerful.
Reality is not merely a result of God’s creative activity; it is a creation of God’s. Unlike other aspects of creation, reality remains open to ongoing creative imagination and power. Science and technology utilizes creation. Whereas reality is subject to ongoing creative work.
Reality is a realm of possibility. We are created to share with God in the creation of our reality. Reality provides the creature (specifically humanity) an existence that requires they be like God. We are to be like God by participating in the creation of reality through imaginative and faith filled efforts that demonstrate the reality of God’s reign can be lived and experienced.
When we are not like God reality creation is marred. Jesus taught that we are to create the reality of the reign of God by doing the works of God.
It is evident in the creation narrative that the image of God is to be lived out within the context of our genders. Image and likeness are not determined by gender but by our common humanity. Further, the failure of a life honoring relationship between the genders is a marring of the image and likeness.
So God created humankind in his image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
In the human condition narrative (fall narrative) reality as a relational effort accomplished by God and humanity begins with the entrance of sin, sex and death.
Only within the fading memory of childhood can the myth of primal innocence live. Outside the garden death wrestles us away from the grandeur of life’s gift with its certainty. However, death insists that life is real, not a dream or a predetermined event, but a choice.
Death is a sobering part of our existence that is in conflict with the godlikeness and image that is given to us beyond the limits of discovery by biological science. Our sense of being is in conflict with death as the final word on life. Human beings cannot accept death as their intended state. We are made to seek God.
He has made everything suitable for its time; moreover he has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.
Death is the absence of God. I think it is for this reason that God is depicted in the story as absent when Eve stands before the tree, and when the violation of the prohibition occurs. The presence of God enters our reality when with faith we bring God into the world by living in an altruistic way.
The inexplicable moment of Jesus sense of being forsaken while enduring the cross is reflective of God’s absence. This is a mystery for God had become a human being without exception, yet to be human is to die.
Spiritual intelligence is to face reality. The failure to face reality and rely upon one’s ideological prejudices, or instincts, or to simply follow the masses is a carnal exercise. To face reality as a spiritual person is to accept the relational aspect of humanity with awareness, burden, and culpability. Awareness of history and the present is an educational effort to recognize the personhood of every human being and be concerned about all of humanity. Burden is to feel the weight of empathy in concert with God’s love. Culpability is to ask the question; what am I to do? Spiritual intelligence connects the heart with God’s will for humanity to live abundantly.
Spirituality is the effort to bring God into the world by aligning one’s self with the will of God. The will of God is always conducive to improving and establishing the flourishing of humanity through acts of love. If we form the world in ways inconsistent with the goodness of God, then chaos and suffering will follow.
History has no meaning without the presence of suffering and death. Angels have no history, they do not exist, they are but personifications that are used to distance us from being closer to God, or they are momentary flames of fire – ministering spirits – that serve to communicate God to us. Occasionally human beings are mistaken for angelic beings.
The suffering we should address in the study of history, for it to be a positive reality creating exercise, is stories of goodness lived out in the midst of suffering and death. We must not allow for the stories of martyrs to become historical personages to be adored. We must not allow their lives to become mythical so that their faith and courage is lifted to a place for the dead, rather than a norm for all believers.
Stories or events that explain reality prior to history are myths. Myths are also used to explain our ontological reality. Myths are a form of communication and ideological referencing for understanding reality.
History exists as a discipline, or study, in hopes that we might become more than we’ve been. However history is not always factual when recorded by the powerful. This being said, the powerful create a false narrative that forms reality. So, reality is both created and perceived based upon a person’s awareness and education.
The sacralizing of war through remembering the dead as sacrifices for the nation is not history; it is a form of reality making that perpetuates war. It is a religious exercise that culminates in the worship of the dead. In Christianity God is the God of the living not of the dead. Death does not speak the creative word, only God possesses the final word on creation and reality.
Words form reality; they can also form a false reality because people without the knowledge of God are easily swayed toward self-preservation (interest). People also fail to understand their role in the creation of reality. We are all responsible for our participation in the creation of reality.
The life of Jesus affirms a difficult fact about reality under God’s sun, it is that the righteous, the innocent, can become victims of the humanity’s reality that functions in the realm of God’s absence. This fact is a part of our reality. Rene Girard identifies it as the scapegoat mechanism.
In our effort to order reality, we miss the anarchic part of reality where God walks on water, hovers over the deep, and allows our faith to be tested. Jacques Ellul explores Christian anarchy well in his writings. Meaning the Christian faith is geared to overcome scapegoating the innocent and to walk into the anarchic without fear. The anarchic is to trust God when the established order is lost to doing what is right. It is to defy the established or deified order of man without yet knowing what God will do. Meaning it is better to do right than to let the scapegoat mechanism bring temporary relief to a broken reality. Scapegoating fails, the need to expel or persecute will resurface and others will be victimized to our unresolved desires.
Human beings suffer at identifying the scapegoat mechanism because it so universal and culturally engrained. Whenever one individual is identified as the solution for relieving the unidentified tension in a group it is certain that the scapegoat mechanism is at play. Of course, this unidentified tension can be falsely proclaimed, lacking the perspective of a third disinterested party. It is not the supposed cause of the tension that is the problem it is the solution to sacrifice a single person through acts of violence that call for exclusion of an innocent person. Innocence is relative in this sense. It is relative to the hidden issues left unresolved by the group. The scapegoat is only a temporary solution to humanity’s flaws that exist in any group.
God is a benevolent being of love and violence is not consistent with the reality that God desires humanity co-create to produce the lived reality of humanity. At the core of all failed human efforts at forming reality is violence. Christianity is able to develop human beings who, as they mature, choose the risk of suffering and/or death rather than succumb to using violence. These are the people who shake existing structures and cause anarchic moments of uncertainty.
Although death devalues life and contributes to humanity’s errant reasoning for using violence, Jesus’ lived faith demonstrates that we are capable of better, capable through the Spirit of bringing, of manifesting, the kingdom of God.
Apocalyptic alarmists have abandoned hope and prefer self-destruction, and choose anarchy not rooted in faith but in demand for God’s rescue; I would not be so presumptuous to think that God is incapable of leaving us to destroy ourselves, and starting over. Apocalyptic alarmists create a false reality where humanity is incapable of living out the calling of becoming God’s children. This is inconsistent with the Gospel of Good News.
As Christians we have been called to co-create with God the reality of God’s reign on earth by being exemplars of Christian faith.