What Telos Are You Following?

In praying this morning's Song of Creation, I couldn't help but think of the curious claim made by Genesis. Whether you take the creation story literally or not does not quash the inferences of that narrative of beginnings. According to Genesis, God creates by speaking, "Let there be..." After which these four words follow: "and it was so." 

When we read of the dawning of human beings we discover we were not just "spoken" but formed by God's hands and "breathed" upon, thereby becoming living souls. Whatever that means, it implies human beings are "special creations." In the text God "commands" Adam (not just says), "You shall NOT eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." 

I remember reading through these chapters devotionally 30 years ago and hearing in my heart (it seemed to be the Spirit to me): "Did you notice that it does not say, 'and it was so'? When I speak to creation, it simply does what I say, when I speak to humankind, that is not so."

Using the language of Aristotle, everything that appears on the earth has what he called a "telos," which is to say it has an end, a design, a built-in way that it is. This is true for trees and stars and dogs and flowers and black holes. In the Song of Creation prayer stanzas appear like:

Glorify the Lord, O nights and days, *
O shining light and enfolding dark.
Storm clouds and thunderbolts, glorify the Lord, *
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.

Created things always glorify the Lord in that they always reflect his telos for them--they are and do what they were intended to be and do - "and it was so." This reflection of God's intended telos is a shout of praise to God! It "glorifies" him.

But when it comes to humanity--we have a choice. We can either submit to the telos he imagined for us or come up with one on our own. The great struggle of life, of creation, of eternity is: What telos are you following? Who/what is Lord of you?