On freedom (Creation/Temptation and Fall 5-8 Part I)

In the 1990s, Danny Villegas robbed a bank. He spent five years in prison. A few years after his release, in January of 2007, he walked into a Credit Union in Florida and robbed it. What is crazy is that he didn’t really try to get away. In fact, he told the teller she needed to call the police. And instead of running from the bank, he sat down on the couch and waited for police to arrive.

Lt. Ron Wright explained that Danny simply wanted to go back to prison. He worked construction for a few years and found he didn’t like the labor. But, he didn’t want to look for another job either. So, he decided prison wasn’t so bad.

Bonhoeffer says that all the rest of creation is fixed, it does what it does because it was created to do it. But man is a different story. Man is free. And that freedom allows for the creation to “fully proclaim the honor of its creator.”

But that freedom is not meant to be lived outside of a relationship with God. And when we lost this relationship with God, we lost true freedom. Now, we who have rebelled think we are free, but we are not. As Bonhoeffer says:

“We think we are pushing and we are being pushed. We do not rule, we are ruled. The thing, the world, rules man. Man is a prisoner, a slave of the world, and his rule is illusion…And because we rule no more we lose the ground, and then the earth is no longer our earth, and then we become strangers on the earth. We do not rule because we do not know the world as God’s creation, and because we do not receive our dominion as God-given but grasp it for ourselves.”

The reality of freedom is that it must be tied to a relationship with God or it is not freedom at all. As Bonhoeffer concludes, “There is no ‘being free from’ without ‘being free for.’ There is no dominion without serving God.”

So, instead of living freely, much of humanity rejects God and convinces themselves it is really not so bad.


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