In most denominations of Christian religion it is common to hear phrases like, “My relationship with God”, “Make sure you have a relationship with Jesus”, “Work on having a personal relationship with the Spirit..”, etc., and that is a good thing to have – a personal relationship with your Creator. That said, when you look at the many types and qualities of relationships we have with each other and that, the very notion of relationship is an invention of your Creator, it makes sense to conclude that He is the only one who can offer any relationship in its absolute perfection. We have parent to child, sibling to sibling, friend to friend and spouse to spouse and they can all be wonderful but, for a picture of any one of them in perfection, we must look to Him. I am not saying this so we can aspire to “live the impossible dream” by trying to be like God, rather, I believe the accuracy of this observation goes to the way He, your God who is “Jealous for you”, has constructed this life. It is quite apparent, in my opinion, that all of us are designed with a “factory installed” need to be loved and accepted perfectly. It is also apparent that none of us is capable of accommodating those two needs, perfectly, for another individual, which should lead us to conclude that possessing the perfect love & acceptance – offered only by God – is the one opportunity we have for peace and rest in this very chaotic world.
Enter: religion (and I do not mean ‘the cavalry’). Specifically, “Conventional Christianity”. For brevity, after this, it will be referred to as “the yoke”. I have not surveyed all under the yoke but, I believe there is evidence to suggest that very few of its members see their God as anyone like the above described perfect parent, sibling, friend or spouse. There are a lot of questions to be asked regarding that: Why? As in, “Why not?” How? As in, “How did we get here?” Who? As in, “Who made it like this?” or, more to the point, “Who is keeping it like this?” For the why and the how, and even the who, Genesis provides a very good account. But, again for brevity’s sake, I will focus on the who of it (also, answering the Who can often give insights to the Why and How of it). But first, for clarity’s sake, here’s a thumbnail of why I believe God, Himself, is literally love, Itself, and Jesus is the personification of that love:
Once before-a time, before there was any time / thing(s) / or place to put them, God was and there was nothing and no one else – not even the angels. Then, before there was even the notion of something other than Himself, He thought about the idea of creating time, space and matter and – most of all – you. I say it like that because I believe there was great intention in His decision to create. Not for the purposes of manipulation, as in what Calvinism claims, but for the intent of having someone who He made, Himself, with all the problems and complications that entails, with the end goal being that of what He lost in the garden – relationship. And the fact He did it this way is the reason your free will is such a big component. Without it, He’s simply a tyrant. By it, He is your God by choice – His choice because He made you knowing you could reject Him in spite of this great gift, and yours because you have to want Him to be your God. The amazing thing though: all the risk is His. And then He stepped it up to the absolute heights of perfect Love by becoming (not only like one of us but literally) one of us. That God, who was self-sufficient and in need of nothing, proved His love by first creating what -He certainly knew– would require thousands of years of long suffering and then, at the apex of our religiously inspired rejection of Him, gave His very self for us that we might, finally, drop all the trust in self and institutions, etc. and look at that perfect Love and acceptance and say, “Okay, I trust you Lord. You and you alone. You want me? You have me – and I don’t want anything or any-one else to give me what only you can.” He did all that KNOWING many would never respond like that last sentence. That is God. That is Jesus. That is perfect love. So you see, in His very UN-yoke-like plan, Jesus is the “Who” and the “How” and, you are the “Why”.
Okay, we have perfect Love in the form of our God who came to rescue us from ourselves or, the yoke. God treats you like someone He formed, from His heart, with His own hands. The yoke? It tells you that He has no such love for you. Not only that, the yoke tells you that, without the yoke, He will never love or accept you even a little – let alone perfectly. Never fear, however, the yoke is here to “help” you “get right” with Him. Can you see the perversion? Can you see the absolute abuse? God says, “I made you because I love you and I want to be with you forever, my precious child. Trust in Me and Me alone and I will show you the wonders of My loving heart that beats for all who put their trust in Me.” The yoke says, “Ya better obey and be the best (insert denomination here_______) you can be or He might not let you into His kingdom – or even curse you!” Or, in its more sophisticated variants, “Learn the theological depths of these doctrinal dogmas and fill your mind (ego?) with quotes by intellectuals and you will realize all that God has for you.” Or, worse yet, “God cannot be known. He cannot be understood. Follow US and we will show you the way…”.
Bottom line: Adam walked with his God. Neither one of them had a religious affiliation (i.e. they weren’t “yoked up”). God brought him the animals “to see” what he would name them. God lost that due to a lie, the man believed, which said “Learn this knowledge and be some-one“. And now, He is restoring what He had to those who want to know someone – for sake of being near Him in order to explore (forever) why He went to such great lengths to be with us – for eternity.