Thank God for children. This morning while I was helping out with Kids Biz, one of the boys mentioned that "You can't bribe God." These words are not new to me, but something clicked in that moment and the meaning of that statement hit me deeply.
I've been thinking lately about what makes a human valuable. In meritocracy, you might argue that someone's value as a human being comes either from their success, or from their potential for success. This could be in any area: strength and fitness (seems relevant to this blog); intelligence; academia; finances; business; family; seduction. However, from a Christian framework, a human's value comes from being a creation of God made in His image, and this value is demonstrated by God laying down His life for humans as we lack merit.
How does this relate to our inability to bribe God? Well, if we're made in God's image, then anything we could possibly offer Him that might in itself be pleasing to Him is something He has given us already. Any love we may offer Him is love that He gave us first by making us in His image. Any love we may give to our neighbours is love that He gave us first by making us in His image. We have no power but the power God has given us. We cannot give Him anything good that wasn't His to begin with.
And so if it were possible for you earn paradise, it could only be because God made you innately worthy of paradise, in which case there would be nothing to earn. And as we do not have any innate power to be Godly, we do not have the ability to make ourselves worthy of paradise. What can we possibly offer God that wasn't given by Him to us in the first place?