Saturday, June 4, 2016

What is normal?

We have often heard the question "what is normal?" That question seems to get increasingly louder with time. Is there such a thing?

Though there is not a direct definition of "normal" within scripture, who and why we are/exist is clearly laid out. Since we, as a culture, have abandon the source of what/who defines us and all things, we have lost sight of this.

To determine what normal is we must first recognize we do not define it. If there is a Creator/Designer of us and all things, (which means things are or are not designed to be a certain way) he must define this.

So what exactly is it?

Normal is operating according to our design (as opposed to operating merely by our desires or an "if it feels good do it" approach to life. In this approach feelings and/or desires trump design).

If we are indeed designed to operate in a specific manner, to go contrary to this ultimately is contrary to how we function best, no matter how much we may feel otherwise at the time.

By definition (as well as in reality) anything that operates contrary to it's design will not operate well and eventually stops operating all together. This is the nature of what it means to be designed.

There are no examples of true fulfillment long term in letting our desires dictate our choices. 

And what is that design? 

We are created like God. 

But what is God like? 

He is love.

How and why is he love? 

Because he is a being of relationship between three persons; Father Son and Spirit. He gives and receives love, honor and value between those persons. God is love because he is relationship.

Why were we created?

·      So we too could be in a relationship with him, receiving love honor and value (glory) from God and giving it back to him in the same way (like) he does within the persons of Father Son and Spirit. To say it more precisely, we were created so we could be brought into and participate in (be partakers of) the giving and receiving of love honor and glory between the Father, Son and Spirit. In order for us to do so we had to be made as much like God as possible without actually being God.

·      We were also entrusted to oversee (have dominion) and *care for the other things he created.

·      We are also like God in our ability to create and then to oversee and *care for the things we created. 

·      Lastly we display what God is like by being fruitful, multiplying and extending his love and glory to others.

However we can not fully understand the "why" of our creation unless we understand that all of the above has been severely marred. We still have the capacity for all the above (and to a limited and distorted degree still display these attributes) but we have also rebelled from this original design because we believe(d) we can (could) gain our own sense of love honor and value apart from God the source of these things. In short we believe(d) the lie that would can (could) be our own god and we now pursue a course based on what we think is best, not on what our designer knows is best.

*genuine care (love) for something other than ourselves can only occur when we are fully participating in and experiencing the care (love) of our Creator. When we do not experience his care (due to cutting ourselves off from him and it), we use created things to care for ourselves instead of caring for them out of honor for our Creator.

So to recap, normal is being like God. How?

·      Being in a relationship of love with God, receiving and participating in (be partakers of) love and giving love to him in response, as he does among Father, Son and Spirit.

·      Overseeing and caring for the rest of his creation as stewards of the ultimate overseer of all things.

·       Using his creation to recreate, thereby bringing honor and glory to him by  demonstrating his creativity and beauty as the ultimate Creator of all things.

·      Being fruitful and multiplying (i.e. by bringing forth other image bearers), filling the whole earth with his love and glory, just as God was fruitful and multiplied his love by extending it to his first image bearers, Adam and Eve.

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Grace to you
Jim Deal