So, what is this significance for which we were created – the significance that is at the heart of each of our quests, wherever we may choose to pursue it? To answer that, we must go back to the beginning – when Genesis tells us that God created the heavens and the earth. Right after that original statement, we are told that the earth was “formless” and “void”. In the first three days of creation, God took that which was formless and brought order to it. Then, on days four through six, He took that which was void and filled it. The finishing touch of creation was man and woman, created in the image of God – that is, created to represent Him. As His representatives, He gave us two responsibilities – (1) be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth, and (2) subdue the creation and rule over it. Did you get that? Fill and subdue – which is another way of saying fill and bring order – the same two things that God began in creation, He now invites us to join Him in, as His representatives.
But if the story of mankind were a movie, we would not even be at the opening credits when all of this was lost in what we call “the fall”. One of the creatures over which man was supposed to rule – the serpent – challenged God’s rule. Rather than representing God and subduing the creation, we chose to side with The Enemy in opposition to the very rule we were supposed to represent. In doing this, we lost the ability to represent God, choosing rather the illusion of becoming like God ourselves, thinking that we could determine what is good and evil on our own.
How could this happen? Was God so shortsighted that He could not foresee such a catastrophic flaw in His plan? Or is He so petty as to hold over us for all time, the destiny that could have been ours, had we not fouled everything up so badly?
No, as with any great story, the whole point is the recovery of that which seems irretrievably lost – our destiny as those who represent God and rule with Him – that is the True Quest to which we are invited.
But before we can rule with Him, we must be restored in our ability to represent Him, to bear His image – which is the point of “discipleship”. Jesus said that a disciple, when he is fully trained, will be like his Master. As we walk with Christ, we are becoming increasingly like Him – Christ-like – to use a New Testament term. And if He is the Image of the Invisible God (which He is), to the degree that I am like Christ, to that degree, I bear the Image of God.
Of course, before I can walk with Him, I must be reconciled to Him. I have rebelled against Him, separating me from Him. Reconciliation occurs when I believe that Jesus is the Christ. Then, having been reconciled to Him, I can increasingly be conformed to His image as I walk as His disciple.
All of this culminates in the age to come, when He promises that, to the degree that we are faithful to Him, we will be restored to our role as those who rule as His representatives. Each of our Quests will follow a path that is unique to us, but at the core, this is the essence of the True Quest and all that is truly meaningful is inextricably tied to it.