If you were Nicolas Cage and found the treasure at the end of your appropriately titled movie, would tell someone?
What if you learned, that hiding among this treasure, was a key to human understanding? I mean, no big deal, but after only one use, you were hooked. If that were made into a movie, then suddenly Cage’s character is possibly an anti-hero who questions his sanity, and wonders if he can trust the world with this newfound power. At the end of the Sphere (a book by Michael Crichton or a movie starring Dustin Hoffman), the three main characters sit down and purposely forget about an ancient artifact they found on a futuristic spaceship sunk in the ocean. Don’t question it, just know that the Sphere allows the three to do whatever their hearts can conjure, and it gets ugly, so they all take hands and forget they ever knew about it. The end. We can all sit cozy knowing no one has the power to do whatever they want.
But wait…isn’t that exactly what everyone wants? Were the actions of these people selfish, or noble? Because if the three could have learned to control their power, they would have been the greatest beings to have ever lived. They could have ended war. Invented a food that was easily grown and easily distributed. Who knows? The possibilities are only limited to their imagination. Which is also the scary part. How many people do you know, that when given power, are happy to abuse it? When they know they are powerful, are suddenly fond of proving it? Isn’t this the heart of man, and the reason there isn’t world peace right now? It’s not because the few people with noble hearts simply don’t have enough power, but because there is no one noble. Given the opportunity, we’ll abuse authority. It’s in our genetics, written right into the fabric of our DNA. We want power so that we can abuse it.
So back to the artifact question. If you found this artifact, would you share it?
Here’s a secret that I’d like to share. I found such an artifact. It is ancient and eternal, and allows the user immense and unrivaled power. So much, in fact, that to be without it is almost like becoming an animal in the presence of humans. It is that great. The difference between this artifact and the Sphere, however, is that I can trust the population of the world with it. I know that I can freely hand it out and never be afraid of the consequences becoming adverse. And the reason I know I’m okay to share this power is because it’s sentient. It thinks for itself, and will never favor one human being over another, because it is their creator.
You probably knew that was coming. This is God, people. A being of immense and perfect power, willing (and actually hoping) to give that power to the people that ask, because that is His heart. The problem is that not everyone wants it, because the cost of infinite power is also infinite, and we are finite beings. The real problem facing humanity is not in our effort, or lack thereof, to improve the world, but our inability to view it differently. We have a finite view of mortality. A finite view of corporeality, and therefore, reality itself. We don’t want infinity because we can’t see into eternity. We think we want to be all powerful, that our lives would cease to experience triviality and drama, if only we were gods, but that’s not the case. The truth is, without a vision of a new reality, omnipotence would bring with it an all consuming sadness. The realization that there is no longer any obstacle to overcome, no enemy that couldn’t be dealt with, would be devastating for the heart, because a trial gives us a finite goal, and your heart needs a goal to continue beating. In real life survival situations, it’s often not the elements that claim the lives of people, but simple nihilism. It is the will to survive that falters. If your mind wasn’t infinite before your power, you wouldn’t care about anything. Look up the character Dr. Manhattan. An infinite goal is essential, and that is what God is. Alpha and Omega. Beginning and end.
The scariest reality of them all is not that we might lose what we’ve worked for in this life, but that we might have been working for the wrong things the entire time and never known it.
So does infinite power bring infinite responsibility? Absolutely. And this is another aspect of eternity that causes our mind to reject God. And also where many people wander away from God who originally thought He was worth it. People often can’t believe that God would ask them to be infinite. So they settle for less, which ultimately means an infinite loss, since you can’t count to infinity. Would you take the key to human understanding if it meant you would know the intentions of all men everywhere, including yourself? Would you share it knowing they would see the same things you do?
This is God.
His reality is different from ours. Infinite. Accepting Him means losing the part of your humanity that makes you finite. That allows you to be accepted. It’s hard.
But to do so is worth it. Can you imagine if you learned to fly, and then had people tell you to stop acting different? Would you stop flying? You couldn’t, could you? In fact, you’d probably begin to wonder if there were other things you had been missing out on, because you were determined to be a slave to the ground.
This is a superficial example of what following God is like. But to chase Him is freedom on an unimaginable scale.
“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found, and hid. In his joy, he goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field.”
Running into Heaven is so great that selling everything else isn’t even an afterthought. It’s your first reaction. But it comes with a heavy price, and one that must be paid in order to obtain eternity; anger and resentment from a world jaded by your apparent dissatisfaction. Sometimes, no matter how much you intend to convince them that this new reality is worth it, and that it is available to them, they will still hate you for leaving, unwilling to believe.
“Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.”
Jesus knew the consequences of revealing himself to his people. But he also believed, even to the cross, that it was worth every ounce of the life he possessed to bring them this new reality.
So…is it worth it? I want to believe it is.