References: Ps. 33; Ps. 8; I Cor. 6:19-20
When someone is struggling with some difficult issue, or perhaps a young person is not sure what he wants to do in life, an observer might say, “He needs to find himself,” or “He’s trying to understand life for himself.”
Some life events puzzle us mightily; we wonder why they happened, and we struggle with them. When it comes to choosing a career path, a job situation, or even an investment, it can be difficult to discern the right thing to do.
In fact, some people struggle so much they never find their way. It has become part of our culture today to acknowledge no specific direction or purpose to life. This viewpoint claims we can’t really find our way; we just drift through life as a meaningless existence. This belief ultimately leads to depression–and can result in a life filled with drugs, life on the streets, life with no moral compass.
Scripture clearly teaches the very opposite philosophy of life. The authors of the Heidelberg Catechism, as they begin to answer the question “What is our only comfort?” began at this very point. You cannot begin to answer the question of comfort without starting with the question of who you are.
We shall begin by zeroing in on a particular point regarding who you are. In our confession of faith, we confess, “I am not my own.” What does that mean? Are you just a puppet on a string? Do you have any control of your life? I pose the question of the relationship in terms of God just pulling all the strings, but on the other hand, ponder this: can man exist totally on his own? Is he truly and completely an autonomous creature?
The myth of self-existence
Many would say yes–but I am here to tell you that complete autonomy is one of the biggest myths that Satan has convinced the ungodly to believe. Man is the creature: he is created by a creator. He didn’t appear on his own. He does not exist on his own.
The notion “I am not my own” is vehemently resisted by atheists, because it requires the acknowledgement of a creator, which in turn requires giving an answer to the creator.
The previous posts in this series lay the groundwork concerning creation. As a brief reminder from the creation account in Genesis, God is presented as the Creator and man as the creature, a unique creature, having been created in God’s image.
Man as a dependent creature
Consider the phrase as written in the catechism: “I am not my own.” It does not simply refer to the fact that you and I need God to find us in our sin and bring us to Himself. That is an important truth. Yet at an even more basic level, this phrase reflects a fundamental understanding of God’s creation. God is the head, the king, of this creation. Note the extent of the language in Psalm 33: “…he who fashions the hearts of them all and observes all their deeds” (Psalm 33:15 ESV).
The relationship between the creature and the creator extends beyond people. I was reminded of this as my wife and I were reading from Jonah in our morning devotions. The words are direct: God prepared a fish to swallow Jonah. Then God “spoke to the fish and it vomited Jonah out.” That is how God orders His creation.
The creature depends on God. Even Cain recognized (in Genesis 4) that he could not exist without being able to depend on his Creator in some way.
Blog post content taken from a sermon series delivered by Dr. Maynard Koerner, President and Professor of Ministerial Studies at Heidelberg Theological Seminary.