Sunday, May 21, 2006

GRII Retreat 2006 Session 4 - The Position of Human in the Universe

This is my personal summary of Rev.Stephen Tong's sharing on Session 4 of "Seeking and working out your calling in God's big picture" in GRII Singapore Retreat on 11-13 May 2006

Where is our position? If we are not located where we ought to be, we will mess up. A shift of identity is sin. This definition is based on the totality of principle. Sin cannot only be judged from actions. This level of judgment is too superficial. A country's constitution measures right and wrong on this level.

Reformed theology has contributed much to the world in the past 500 years. However, it has not expounded much into human sense of existence (This is Rev.Tong's contribution to Asian theology). Our sense of existence is something more fundamental than morality. Morality itself still rests on another foundation, that is, freedom to choose what is wrong but chooses not to do it.

We need to know the position of our identity in the universe.

The first question which God asked when human fell is, “Where are you?” and not “What did you do?” It is fundamentally about location, not action.
It is about shift in identity. The book of Jude talked about fallen angels who did not keep their original position, i.e. their identity. In 1 Cor.15 Paul expounded that the sun has its own splendor, the moon has its own splendor and the stars likewise have their own splendor. Therefore each one has its own identity and testimony.

Knowing our identity is of foundational importance. Human lives are not dangerous because of their high achievements, but because of weak foundation. Hence God entrusts souls of men first to mothers, not to professors. We should not underestimate the importance of basic structure in life.

But where is the position of men? Is it higher or lower than the angels? It is important for humans to know who they are and to keep their proper position. Otherwise, they will fall by anything, whether money, pleasure, fame, etc. Have I found my identity in God? If not, however I live I am still wasting time and opportunities in my life.

In Psalms 8:4-10 David sees the stars above, the creation below, and then finds his position in the universe. When his physical eyes behold the stars above, his eyes of faith see the Creator of the stars. Hence faith sees the unseen. Then he asks, “What is man that You are mindful of him?” After looking at the stars, he looks at the animals on earth and the fishes in the waters. Then he realized that God had created man a little lower than the heavenly beings (or can be translated as God). Hebrews 2:7-9 also quoted this part of Psalms to affirm that man was created a little lower than angels. We can derive that angels are also created in the image of God since they are higher than human beings who are made in God's image.

David summarized that God had made man to dominate over the birds of the air, the animals on earth and the fishes of he waters. Why did he summarize using only these living things without mentioning dominion over the stars? Living things have greater significance than non-living things, therefore this summary is enough. So although by physical size, we are so tiny, yet by significance we are more important than all these God have created.

Therefore we come to the conclusion that in order, God is above man and man is above matter. Direction wise, matter is to serve man, and man is to serve God. The whole universe is created for men. Men are created for God. So Jesus summarized, “What is the use of gaining the whole world but loses your soul?” We are more significant, glorious and honorable than all the things you can get on this earth. But we make God our tool to get material stuffs. This is wrong religion.

In John 16:11, the prince of this world referred to the devil. However, God is the Lord of the world. In the temptation of Christ, Jesus refused to worship the devil as He did not want the riches that were not from the true Source, who is God. Human beings often reverse their position so they become upside down, and they interpret the world in this reverse state. We should make use of everything created for us but serve God alone.

What is glory and honor in God's eyes is different from man's judgment. When would men realize their glorious and honorable position?


Post a Comment

<< Home