Outlook
 Published by Worldview Publications
September/October 2005 

THE DIVINE RESOLUTION IV:

Creation and Power

The gradual withdrawal of a possessive “god-consciousness” began about the end of the third millennium BCE.1 While most human beings lost this god-consciousness, it was retained by a few. And to these was passed power and authority. Rulers across the world were rapidly divinized, and emerging imperial power structures quickly laid the foundation for civilization. “Deep below the surface of history is a giant tectonic plate that some have called macroparasitism, kleptocracy, or ‘the cage,’ but we call civilization itself. The normalcy or even the cutting edge of human civilization in all its imperial inevitability has as its chant: First victory, then peace or Peace by victory.2

While most human beings bereft of god-consciousness quietly submitted to the existing power structures and suffered the resulting grand domestication of imperialism, other humans resisted denigration and servitude. For example, in ancient Egypt “literary sources describe people fleeing towns, noblemen grubbing for food in the fields, brothers fighting, men killing their parents, pyramids and tombs ransacked.”3 This is the origin of the second “giant tectonic plate.” “Some call it nihilism, totalitarianism, or terrorism, but we call it anticivilization and its chant is First death, then peace or Peace by death.4

It was in this context that the One-and-Only God personally intervened to liberate the Habiru from their enslavement in Egypt and to guide them through the sea, across the desert, and finally to their Promised Land. Over against both “civilization” and “anticivilization,” God determined to institute communal justice. “Some call it utopia, eschatology, or apocalypse, but we call it postcivilization and its chant is First justice, then peace or Peace by justice.5

Not long after the Habiru were successfully settled in their home, God proceeded to inaugurate human self-consciousness. This was a profound advance in the creative process and was a significant step in limiting the dominance of power structures. King David was one of the first to express this wondrous gift. “. . . [T]he Psalms . . . are filled with I’s: the I of repentance, the I of anger and vengeance, the I of self-pity and self-doubt, the I of despair, the I of delight; the I of ecstasy.”6

With the introduction of self-consciousness, God also bestowed upon mankind the gift of free will. Self-conscious free will gave human beings the power of definition and of choice. For the first time it became possible for mankind to distinguish and thus to define differences. Good now could be understood apart from evil, love apart from hatred, life from death, light from darkness, sound from silence, etc. Furthermore, for the first time it was possible for human beings to make their own decisional choices. Not surprisingly, many, if not all, human beings chose the imagined self-aggrandizement of evil. They chose to “get” rather than to “give,” to exclude rather than to include, to dominate rather than to submit to others. For Israel this ultimately led to the collapse of the monarchy in the First Temple period. After the Babylonian exile and the reconstitution of Israel under the Second Temple, the power structures were reconstituted as a theocracy under “divine law.” Again, this led to an inevitable collapse.

Finally, under Roman imperialism God became manifest as Jesus Christ. As Jesus Christ, God acted to personally inaugurate justice for all mankind and the entire created order. “God’s power . . . [was] the empowerment of other beings rather than . . . power over them. This provides an alternative to omnipotence or impotence by redefining the nature of divine power without denying its universal scope.”7

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. —John 3:16.


Endnotes

  1. Prior to this withdrawal, mankind was controlled by an internal “god-consciousness” in which human will and authority were represented by the symbolic appearance and voice of “god,” expressed by the right brain (left brain in left-handed people). See Julian Jaynes, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1990).
  2. John Dominic Crossan and Jonathan L. Reed, In Search of Paul: How Jesus’s Apostle Opposed Rome’s Empire with God’s Kingdom (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2004), p. 413.
  3. Jaynes, Origin of Consciousness, p. 197.
  4. Crossan and Reed, In Search of Paul, p. 413.
  5. Ibid.
  6. Thomas Cahill, The Gifts of the Jews: How a Tribe of Desert Nomads Changed the Way Everyone Thinks and Feels (New York: Doubleday, 1998), p. 199.
  7. Ian G. Barbour, “God’s Power: A Process View,” in John Polkinghorne, ed, The Work of Love (Grand Rapids: MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2001), p. 2.

Copyright © 2005 Worldview Publications