God is large and in charge . . . sort of.
The Contemporary English Version of the Bible sheds a different kind of light on the creation story for me. I am used to the familiar version of the creation story, where God says, “Let there be…” But in the CEV, God says, “I command!” That gives a very authoritative flavor to the story of creation. It’s immediately easy to picture God as One who is “large and in charge.” Not to say that He’s boorish, but He’s definitely in control.
“I command light to shatter the darkness!”
“I command plants to spring up and trees to bud!”
“I command whales to appear in the ocean deep!”
That’s why it struck me all the more when, on day six, after creating the animals, God suddenly stops commanding. He announces that He will now make human beings, and they will be like Him. And He will let them rule over the Earth. He will let them be in control. He will let them have command.
There is no doubt that God is absolutely in control of the elements. He can command anything He wants to, whenever He wants to. What a glorious thought it is, then, to know that He doesn't command US. If He was disinterested in love, He could easily command us
“I command you to bow down to Me!”
“I command you to serve Me!”
“I command you to spend an eternity obeying my every whim!”
But God doesn't do that. He has imposed a self-boundary on His authoritative command of everything He creates. He has restricted Himself, limited His own control of the universe by creating intelligent beings with freedom to choose. And, though He is able to do it if He wanted to, He will not trample on the freedom He has given us.
Yes, the God who is able to control anything and everything chooses not to control us. What incredible Self-control!