WEEK 3, DAY 16: TRANSCENDENCE
Scripture Reference: Mark 16:1-8
During college summer vacation, I worked at a youth camp in Colorado, nestled in the beauty of the Rocky Mountains. My off-days were spent in the mountains. I remember hiking to the top of Mt. Bierstadt to claim my first 14er (14,000 ft. summit). As I looked over the lush valleys thousands of feet below, and snow-capped mountains jutting up beside me. I couldn’t help but feel small. Psalms 8:4-6 came to mind. I imagine the psalmist looking around him feeling that same sense of smallness.
“What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet:”
You and I are in a unique position. On one hand, we are the pinnacle of creation with all other creation placed under human authority. Yet, at the same time, the psalmist reminds us that we aren’t the top of the universal food chain. It’s easy to forget that we aren’t the top in our modern world. Using technology, we’ve found cures to diseases, we can communicate with foreign continents in seconds, we can summit mountains, and explore oceans. Yet, at the end of the day, disease still exists, technology has been used for destruction, and we’re unable to conquer our greatest enemy, death. No matter how far we advance, we’re limited by our own human nature.
Transcendence is an older word that best fits God. It’s used to describe God’s ability to look out over creation, His ability to be separate and distinct. God’s transcendence reminds us that he is different. God created human beings with an order to the universe. Genesis describes human beings as ruling the world under God’s authority (Gen 1:28 ). Adam and Eve’s sin was an attempt to become like God and bridge that gap of transcendence (Gen 3:4-7). The human story eternally seeks to become greater than what we are.
In his sermon entitled, The Wheat and the Tares, Reinhold Niebuhr described human attempts at transcendence as our greatest problem. We want to be more than what we are. We try to play God, but mess up the world around us. Pride drives us as if to say,
“I can do this on my own. I’m big enough, I don’t need God.
WE NEED GOD
The message of the Bible reminds us of where we fit in the universe. We need God. We are limited by our own mortality. Jesus is the only one who has beaten death. Our God is a living God. Our transcendent God came to live intimately with us, to provide a way out of the mess we created. He beat our archenemy dying on a hill he created, at the hands of his creation. He lovingly calls us to live under his authority. We mess things up when we try to be our own God. He rules with loving-mercy and justice.
— Prescott Khair, Bowling Green Seventh-day Adventist
TIME TO CONTEMPLATE:
- How will you let God take control of your life, today?
Father, you know what is best for me. I have tried to run my life, but have made a mess of things. You are living, transcendent God. I rely on you for salvation, happiness, and life. I take my hands off the controls and give them to you. Although, I can’t see you face to face, I trust you. Come in and reorder my life, reprioritize my desires. I give you my kingdom so that I can experience your kingdom. You are my God, you are my king. You are my Savior. I love you and submit to your authority because you are good. You have my best interests at heart.