By: Fr. Roy Cimagala
WE always have to defer to God for everything that we say or affirm. Even if we are fully convinced that we are right in affirming something, we have to realize that we cannot be fully right unless we affirm it together with God.
God has the final word, and his word is such that it will always transcend our human understanding of things. We can try to conform our mind and will to God’s mind and will as we should try our best to do, but we cannot and should never equate God’s mind and will with ours.
While it’s true that we are God’s image and likeness in the fullness of our humanity, and therefore our mind and will are meant to reflect God’s mind and will in our most ideal condition, we cannot and should not confuse the mind and will of the Creator with the mind and will of the creature.
Despite the similarity between God and us, there’s an infinity of difference between the two. The distinction should always be maintained, so we will always be aware of who we are in relation to God and avoid falling into thinking we are God ourselves. We are only creatures, and a creature cannot be without his Creator.
Relevant Bible passages to support this point would be the following:
– “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Is 55,8-9)
– “For who among men knows the thoughts of man except his own spirit within him? So too, no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.” (1 Cor 2,11)
This clarification is important because in our dealings with others, we should realize that while we always make judgments since that is how we get to know things, our judgments cannot be final. It is only God who can make the final judgment. He has the final word.
And while we have laws, rules, standards, criteria to guide us in our dealings, we should never regard these instruments to be the ultimate guide in making judgments. No human law can fully capture the richness of the wisdom of God which is the ultimate basis of the justice proper to all of us.
Thus, while our judgments and sense of justice are guided by these human laws, we should always defer to God’s law whenever we make judgments. We should not allow our human laws to replace God’s law, if not God himself. Doing so would constitute what is termed as self-righteousness.
Our human laws should be understood simply as guides and not as the ultimate end itself. They cannot be the basis of the final judgment of a person. We have to remember that we can find many exceptions to our human laws because of their inability to capture all the possible situations that we can get into, let alone, the complete measure of our human dignity which only God can know.
That is why many of our human laws become obsolete after some time, or are even outrightly rescinded, or at least updated, modified, fine-tuned, etc.
Even the sacred laws can suffer changes as situations demand. Take the example of the Sabbath law of the Jews as dramatized in Matthew 12,1-8. Some Pharisees faulted Christ’s disciples for picking and eating grain on a Sabbath. But Christ immediately corrected them.
He explained that exceptions can be made. “Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry,” he said, “when he and his companions were hungry, how he went into the house of God and ate the bread of offering, which neither he nor his companions but only the priests could lawfully eat?”