Why must we obey God?
- Is it because we want to, or because we need to?
- For those of us who were raised Christian, or at least influenced by Christian tradition, we were taught to obey God, that God is all-loving, that he has a plan for each of us, and that he knows best. However, in revisiting Genesis, not much is offered by the text regarding God’s loving nature or his nurturing of his creations. There was no real spiritual realization that we (at least, I) expected. God is instead portrayed as powerful, as vengeful and angry when disobeyed, and as constantly setting up arbitrary rules and conditions for no stated reason. The punishments for disobeying God are also constantly displayed, leading to a seemingly economical viewpoint regarding obeying God (we described it as almost a cost-benefit analysis). On page 5, line 23, it states that rebellious, disobeying angels, “…no longer wished to act for their own advantage, but they turned away from God’s intimacy.”, showing that even the text itself says obeying God is solely in one’s best interest. What do y’all think? Do we obey God because we fear him, because we love him, out of self-preservation, or solely because it is the natural order of things?
- In discussing this question, the concept of power emerged. Something important that Genesis shows the reader is that God’s power is unlike any other, solely because of his word. On page 13, God “lifted [the heavens, the firmament] up from the earth by his own word.” (149) and, “commanded the waters to be gathered.” (156). There are many more instances of God just commanding that something happen/exist, and it does. However, with Satan, as is shown by how he has to trick Eve himself after condemning the human race, those powers (or that level of power) does not exist. This power that God is shown to possess only reinforces the importance behind Logos, the word: of Christ as Logos, of the scripture as Logos, and the true power of Logos itself. It also adds to the question of why we obey God– is it because we fear these powers? Is it because we wish to share in the glory of these powers?
- But what does God actually want from us? Does he truly just want our obedience? If so, why does he grant us intelligence?
- Throughout Genesis, intelligence and obedience is shown to have an inversely proportional relationship: the more intelligent one becomes, the less obedient one is. That has been shown through Satan and his fallen angels, as well as through Adam and Eve. The intelligence that God gave his angels is what made them turn away from him, so what is he after? Is intelligence, curiosity, and the questioning of the world around you, a sin? Genesis describes disobeyers of God both as “thoughtless” (page 5, line 51) and as thoughtful. Why was eating from the Tree of Knowledge a sin, rather than drinking from the River of Pride or something like that? Is knowledge evil? It seems to be the source of woes: the reason Satan and his fallen angels are in hell, the reason Adam and Eve were exiled from paradise, the reason the human race is subject to famine, disease, etc. We said that God just wants thoughtful, voluntary obedience, but that still doesn’t answer the question of God’s purpose in granting intelligence– does he gain anything? Does he want to gain anything? And is knowledge truly a sin, or evil, or the source of all our woes?