The gods of days past, the Norse gods, the Greco-Roman deities, and the eastern gods of the Asians and Arabs were all thought to have an existence that touched our own. And, their existence made a difference. They could visit the world of humankind, visibly or invisibly. And when they did, armies would fall, the outcome of wars would be decided, and human loves were thwarted. To come into contact with a God was to come into contact with a force to be reckoned with. Whose will would win over? Time would tell. Sometimes the gods would win and sometimes humans would win. A God would crave appeasement, sacrifice, or worship; and followers either complied or faced the consequences. What humankind did had an effect on what God would do. The existence of the gods was in competition with human existence. For mankind to be fully alive, free, and in control he must say NO to God. A NO to God is a YES to man.
Then comes the Christian, who stares all humankind in the face, and declares there are no gods. But the same Christian will claim to worship God. When examining this situation, one begins to declare the Christian to be suffering from a host of contradictions. At one moment the Christian declares, “There is no God within the whole of existence.” And the next you will see him bow down to worship him.
To the Christian, however, the entire ancient world was just confused. The worshipers of the gods were the ones ailing from contradictions because they were confused about divinity, confused about what it is. There can in principle be no competition between God and humanity since God, as the source of their very existence, is just what makes them what they are. To be God is to be the source of all items in the whole of existence, including anything a philosopher might call existence itself. As the source of all that exists, God is just what makes everything what it is. As such, God makes no difference to anything in the universe. God is the reason why everything is what it is. Therefore, the will of God is what gives fullness of life to humanity. To say YES to God is to say YES to humankind. The glory of God is man fully alive. To reject the source of your very existence is to reject life. It is to die, non-participation in existence, in some way. This is why Adam and Eve were said to have died the day they ate of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. By disobeying God they were turning away from the One who made them, in every way, what they are. Because they refused the source of existence, they refused to participate, in some way, in their very own existence, whether one classifies that existence as physical or spiritual. Adam’s choice to eat the fruit wasn’t an expression of his free will. It was a limitation of his human freedom to be all that he could be. Limited freedom means limited life. The closer God communes with humankind, the more humankind will realize their true selves, free from death and corruption.