Summary: We have lots of data stored up in our souls, but who know how to arrange it so it works as God intended—to form in us an accurate picture of God, life and all creations.
Last Sunday I spent some time talking about Rubik’s Cube—the 3-D puzzle made up of 26 little cube-like parts faced off with a total of six colors.
The puzzle is solved when each face of the cube is showing a solid color. That sounds easy until you try it. The reason it’s not easy is that there are 43,252,003,274,489,856,000 (43 quintillion) ways to arrange this cube and only one of theme solves the puzzle.
How do you say a number like that? Here’s how.
All those combinations out of 26 working parts? Yes!
But you know what?, 43 quintillion is very small number compared to the number of ways you could arrange the millions of bits of data and pieces and colors of information floating around in your brain—the information that makes you, you. Arrange the data one way and you see yourself as a victim. Arrange the same data another way and you see yourself as an over-comer; same data, different arrangement.
We know what Rubik’s cube is supposed to look like when it’s solved (six sides, six solid colors), but what about us? Is there a way that all these bits and pieces are supposed to be arranged—a way to know if you’ve solve the puzzle of you?
More and more people answer that question by saying; “No! There is no right arrangement. There is my arrangement and your arrangement, but there is no right arrangement. We exist as individuals in a hostile universe and we each do the best we can to arrange the bits and pieces in whatever way we can.”
But this notion hasn’t brought any sense of peace to us. In fact our kids and our families and our communities are living more and more in despair and chaos and life is being devalued.
In Christ God came among us preaching the Gospel (good news) that there is a right arrangement and what it looks like is the broken image of God being restored to you and me being restored to our original condition before the warping and bending and deteriorating affect of sin rearrange our minds in all kinds of contorted and toxic ways. The standard for this one correct arrangement is found in
Scripture … Genesis 1:26-27
26 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image , after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." 27 So God created man in his own image , in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. ESV
That God-image (Imago Dei) was defaced when Adam and Eve sought wisdom beyond the wisdom that God had revealed to them. The wisdom they embraced so obliterated the original Imago Dei that neither Adam or Eve, nor any of their offspring (us) were able to get back to it, death set in and Adam and Eve died, and this toxic wisdom is still killing their children all these generations later. We are made in God’s image, we are His creatures but we have embraced a dark and destructive wisdom.
Scripture … Isaiah 5:20-21
20 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil,
who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
and shrewd in their own sight! …
24b-25a they have rejected the law of the Lord of hosts, and have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. 25 Therefore the anger of the Lord was kindled against his people, ESV
What the prophet is talking about is everyone coming up with their own way to solve the puzzle and saying my solution is right. And it gets worse. There are times when we know better but still choose the dark wisdom of this world over the puzzle solving wisdom of God. God, who loves us with an extravagant love, sorrows over this.
For this reason God in Christ entered into the world to preach the Gospel of God’s love and forgiveness.
Scripture … John 10:10-12
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. ESV
Jesus offered His own perfect life as a sacrifice for our sins. He died so that we might live, His message in living and dying and in rising again in triumph over death is the good news that God is able to arrange every detail of our lives (the millions of bits of data and information) in a way that restores us to our original function and purpose—restores in us the true image of God.