Every year at Christmas and Easter there is some sort worldly attack on the faith. The “Jesus Marriage” fragement/forgery. The “Judas Gospel” big woop over nothing. They always end up amounting to less than a hill of beans. This year, however, a professor in Minnesota has said something that, for reasons inexplicable to me, seems to have offended many in the church: God didn’t ask for Mary’s consent before the spirit came upon her and Jesus was conceived in her womb.
How can this possibly be a surprise?
He didn’t ask for Elizabeth’s consent before sending the angel to her husband and promising a son. And going back a few thousand years, you see that it’s a long-term pattern of behavior. God didn’t ask Abraham if he wanted to leave his home and family and go to a foreign country. God didn’t ask Joseph if it would be OK to spend 13 years as a slave torn from his family before becoming ruler of Egypt. God didn’t ask for Moses consent before appointing him leader of Israel. He did it over Moses explicit objection. He didn’t ask the consent of Israel before delivering them. He didn’t ask if it was OK that their bodies be strewn across the desert. He didn’t ask David if he wanted to be king. He didn’t take no for an answer from Jonah. He didn’t ask Daniel and his friends if Babylon was acceptable for college, even though it wasn’t even on their list of safety schools. God doesn’t ask our opinions before going ahead with his plans.
I mean, who does this God fellow think he is, anyway.
Based on Holy Scripture, one gets the impression He thinks He’s God. He decides how things will be. We try to fight against that. So, children engage in adult behaviors, trusting their clumsy attempts to defy nature will be successful. If that fails, there is always the possibility of “taking care of things”. After all, isn’t it a woman’s right to choose?
A friend of mine took a college course in philosophy, and the professor argued that it was unethical to have a system which requires conduct that is unattainable. God does that very thing. Well, not at first; Adam and Eve had the option to be sinless. We don’t have that option. We can not avoid sinning. (Latin: non posse non peccare). We can not keep the ten commandments. We don’t even make it to number 1. We can not have fear, love, and trust for God. Instead, we complain about how its unfair, he didn’t ask our opinion, and we should have a say in things.
We don’t get to choose to be born. We don’t get to choose whether we are male or female. We don’t get to choose nationality, or skin color, or native language. We don’t get to choose if our procreative activity will result in procreation. That’s up to him as well. We don’t get to choose how or when we die.
And yet, we fight against God in all of those things. We have seen people pretend to be of other nationalities, ethnicities, or genders. We see people try and either jump start or hit the brakes on procreation, we see people claiming the right to choose the time and place of their own death.
I’m writing this on the day that the US entered WW2 – unwillingly. And the response was for the government to take away from the people industry, agriculture, even career choices. Accountants ended up in foxholes because they were told to. Sure, some signed up willingly. Others did so because they were forced. A generation later, such activity would result in mass protests. “You can’t tell us what to do!” The cry of the spoiled child. I have been known to tell my children no, for the sole reason that they need to learn the answer is sometimes no. The entire reason for no, is “Because I said so.” When you talk about the authorities that God places over us – parents, government, we are now talking about he ability to compel against consent. God has that authority, and in limited ways, he gives the government and parents the authority to force us to do things we don’t want to do. (As long as those things don’t violate his other commands.)
But God gets to decide matters even beyond what government or parents can do. Life and death, and everything in between. And that includes whether the Blessed Virgin Mary was to be the Mother of God. In today’s MeMeMe culture, the amazing thing for us to ponder isn’t that God didn’t ask for her consent first, but that she willingly submitted to his will when asked. There might be a lesson in there somewhere. Maybe I’ll try and figure out what it is, after I finish telling others what they should buy me as gifts…