Religion column — Unnatural choice

Published 7:00 am Saturday, January 19, 2019

By Fr. Jonathan Filkins

There is often the distinction made between the natural and the spiritual. Frequently, the lines are drawn and the inference is that, somehow, the traits given to us in our “natural” state, are from the darker side of our beings; or somehow excluded. In truth, the position is entirely flawed, as the very creation of nature itself is of God’s design and choosing. While there are portions of nature, of which we do not fully understand and bring us distasteful results, it is by our lack of Godly understanding we ascribe the label, as un-godly, or evil.

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…” These familiar words, and those which follow, bring us to the start of this our natural world. At the end of the initial discourse, we hear, “…and God saw that it was good.” From this foundation, we are to understand that nature, in and of itself, is good. From our learning, we understand there are laws of nature and, as believing and practicing Christians, we are to understand there are laws of Faith.

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As much as we try, all of these laws are inseparable. If we attempt to do so, we find the laws of nature reserve only the bestial for our use, and excludes the moral sense of right and wrong.

This precept is the lynchpin of the unique relationship with our Creator. While we may understand the laws of nature, which we share with all other creatures, our unique position in the universe creates, and requires, additional cognizance and responsibilities.

Certainly, the law of gravity is for all of God’s creatures; as is the natural scientific law of solar fusion. Yet, each belies the fuller knowledge of the most necessary laws for the ultimate creation, “made in God’s image.” In our attempt to further satisfy our knowledge, we may seek only natural answers; ignoring the greater truths of the human emotional and spiritual resources.

God has given us a differentiated sense of what is right and what is wrong, and the ability to make choices. This gift confirms our uniqueness and our commonality. However, it is only among ourselves where the discernment exists; all other creatures are left to their instincts.

It is in this innate sense of right and wrong where we have developed our sense of morality. As our cultures have aged, we have gone further in establishing laws, or moral codes, to further define behaviors, and responsibilities.

Miraculously, God established His relationship with humankind for a fuller understanding by us. We are not to be known as strangers, as we are called “friends.” With the presence of Jesus Christ, upon this earth, a new covenant was affixed and a greater breadth of God’s mandates to us. In the ultimate gift, we were given the sacrifice of our Savior, for us, that there may be eternal life. We, His often-rebellious creatures, have been truly blessed to have our Creator’s expectations and gracious gifts clearly given to each of us; through the Holy Spirit and the Holy Bible.

This arrangement requires a level of humility, as we seek His grace and forgiveness. Our egos need to be checked at the door. While we can squirm under the mantle of Christianity, we are not called to be outside of the universal calling to the Law of God. To do so is to be apart from God, stewing in the juices of our self-aggrandizement and self-interest.

Our sovereign God gave us His laws to suit His purposes. These laws interplay with the laws of nature, and are as one. Only when we digress to the point of ignoring this truth, or separating the two, have we made the choice to exclude God from our lives and futures.