Hubris; December 8, 2021


Psalm 100:3 Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

For once the NIV, along with the footnote alternate translation, gives more insight than the Japanese. The Japanese goes with the main translation, saying, “The Lord made us. We belong to Him.” However, it’s that alternate translation, “He made us, and not we ourselves,” that strikes me most strongly at the moment. That is of course the traditional, KJV translation and so is perhaps suspect in terms of accuracy of source material, but it still strikes at the heart of human hubris. We don’t like to admit that we are created beings, that we don’t have ultimate power over ourselves. In literary terms, I happen to be a fan of science fiction, and this is a common theme, both from a “mankind can do anything” perspective and from a “hubris will destroy us” perspective. The first of those is far more common! Human beings are indeed pretty remarkable. As David noted, “What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet.” (Psalm 8:4-6) That’s pretty exalted status, any way you look at it! Even so, we are still created beings. Right now we are working actively on Artificial Intelligence, and scientists have just announced the creation of self-replicating biological robots, starting with frog cells. However, all of those things start with what God has created. Even if we were to eventually come up with “artificial people,” as science fiction posits, we can never create life from nothing, the way God did with us. We are back to what Proverbs so famously declares: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10) If we fail to start with the awareness that we are created beings, fully accountable to our Creator, then we are guaranteed to go off the rails.

As I said, I like science fiction, and I love the possibilities that God has laid out for us, but by God’s grace I am fully aware of the dangers of cutting Him out of the picture. I have had more than enough experience with pride, with hubris, and I know it leads to destruction. Psalm 100 has been familiar to me for as long as I can remember, and I have sung various musical arrangements of parts and all of it, but more than that, I want to do what it says, living a life of gratitude and obedience, and not one of presumption and pride. I am not to discount the abilities God has given me, or given mankind as a whole, but I must remember that He alone is God. After all, it was wanting to be like God that tripped up Eve! (Genesis 3:5)

Father, thank You for Your incredible grace toward me. Help me live in constant awareness of You, giving You the love and obedience You desire and the praise and gratitude You deserve, so that all of Your purposes for me may be fulfilled, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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