One of the most attractive aspects of rpgs (role-playing-games) is their leveling-up system. At the time of this writing, I’m playing through Final Fantasy 12 on my live-stream and I like many aspects of the game. I like the story. One of my favorite characters is Balthier. I like his wit and intelligence. I like the leveling-up system. I like to see my characters grow stronger and become more equipped to tackle increasing challenges. It’s fascinating to think about power and achieving greater power which is always in relation to overpowering others. It’s always a matter of defeating or outwitting your opponent.
A lot of men have this belief ingrained in their life. When Hitler was pondering how to reform his country to be the great bastion of human progress and the next step in the evolutionary gene pool, he did not seek power by building a hospital. He didn’t think of starting a charity for the handicapped. His belief was that by becoming the political ruler of his country he would gain power to command men and initiate his plan. The power to command troops, to execute orders for concentration camps and the power to oppress others is the sort of power that most people think of. It’s the power that has the capacity to overtake, to control, to defeat, to oppress, to manipulate, and to destroy a person. One can say that it relates to our desire to be like God, in that we desire to be more powerful. It is how we gauge our growth as people and this is almost our entire litmus test to know how manly we are as men.
In response to this, I think there is a power far greater than what I have outlined. I believe there is a power greater than the power to destroy and defeat. I believe that power should be used to create and restore. Anyone can destroy anything and it doesn’t take a P.H.D. in video game design to chuck your physical copy of Dark Souls out the window in frustration because you have died about 10 times to the same boss you have been tackling for four hours. Designing a well-crafted game is so complicated and difficult that one can’t tackle it with a doctorate in Social Studies. We acknowledge the innate difficulty that comes with building, creating and redeeming. In order to raise a child, you need to take care of the child. You also need to love them and feed them. You need to teach them and discipline them to be raised into the adult they are meant to be. You only need to throw the baby over the bridge to destroy it. It doesn’t take much to destroy something and I would add that the power to create would also include the power to destroy. If you are able to create something and give it form, I would think that its form and purpose is derived from the creator and, thus, it relies on its creator to have any form.
Consider the account of Genesis where God speaks things into existence and gives them form by His will. What I find nonsensical is the idea that a being can create something but not have any part in sustaining it. The idea comes from a deist perspective that God can bring forth into existence things, but has no part in sustaining them. It’s not only that Genesis teaches the close relation between the power to create and the power to sustain and have lordship, but there can be no other way. We live in a world where things rely on other things to be sustained and kept alive. If an apple seed is planted and it is not taken care of or looked after, that plant will die and cease to exist. A child requires care and love to grow into maturity, or that child will grow bent or die spiritually. A painter gives a painting value in accordance with his ownership. If a painter so chooses, the painting can either be a work displayed at a museum, can be a work for private enjoyment, or a work that can be thrown out in the trash. The author of the work has so much dictation in terms of purpose for the work that the work has value only derived from its author. We live in a universe where the value or purpose of something is contingent on something else. Yet, if even things that came into existence rely upon their author to be sustained and live, then so must be the same for God and His creation. How could God be involved in the greatest act of creation, yet not be involved in the act of sustaining and lordship? Wouldn’t the power to create also necessarily also include lordship and sustaining? What’s even more striking is the sort of power this is. Consider this passage from Galatians;
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Gal 5:22)
The concept of power that our culture in Canada is associated with is like of the power level in Dragon Ball Z, or an anime named Bleach, where characters’ strength and endurance grow in power. It is an energy power that oppresses their opponents and leaves them unable to move. It subdues their opponents and submits them, by force, to the other. Yet the power of God is one where peace, patience and goodness flow by having the Holy Spirit in your presence. It is the power that can take away your ability to speak or restore your sight. It is a yoke that is burdensome to the prideful and envious because it weighs them down so that the tall bends over and learns humility. Yet, once you are humble, it lifts you up and you can stand proud and boast in the power you stand on. If you expect that you should be served and be the first priority, then you will collide with your family, your friends and your spouse when you should look beyond yourself and toward the other person. Instead of becoming tall and proud, you become bent over and pathetic. The power of God is a yoke that is light and uplifts the spirit from a state of oppression to a state of love, patience, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; and at the root of all these things is love.