Say you were given a set of instructions to build a house. All the pieces are cut out, all you and your crew have to do is assemble them. The architect thinks that you were provided hammers and some nails. But when you get to the job site, instead of hammers you have screwdrivers. You can’t possibly follow the instructions to build a house with screwdrivers. It just doesn’t work. It isn’t designed for that.
But you try anyway, because it is what you have and you have a job to do. Then the architect calls you up and asks you if you are finished yet. You say no, and he gets really mad. You didn’t know that you were supposed to have hammers. You think that screwdrivers are what you are supposed to use, because it is what you were provided.
You are way behind on the project and the architect is really upset. Somebody figured out how to use a screwdriver to dig out a hole in the wood and then put a nail in the hole, and tap it in with the other end of the screwdriver. It isn’t very good, but it is something. You’ve managed to put together a corner of the house this way.
After a few more phone calls and getting more and more upset and confused, the architect finally comes to the job site and he notices you don’t have the right tools. He sees what you have and how hard you’ve been trying with what you were provided, and he understands. He works alongside you for a bit, using the tool that you were given. He doesn’t have a way to get you any hammers, so he changes the plans and he makes them a lot easier.
God is the architect and we are the workers. Our human bodies are the screwdrivers.
We can’t possibly follow all of God’s instructions with the tool we were given. God had no way of knowing how frail and hungry these bodies are. They cause us to fear, so we don’t try anything difficult. They cause us to crave, so we do things we know we shouldn’t. Our senses are very limited, so our perceptions aren’t that great.
But then God the architect comes down to the worksite (Earth) to see us and work with us.
And God gets it. We can’t do what is expected of us. We can’t follow the plans the way they are written with the tools we were given. The only way God would know that was to see things from our perspective, in our limited, frail, needy bodies.
We aren’t off the hook, but the rules got modified. They were boiled down to the essentials. Instead of “eat this, don’t eat this” and “wash your hands this way” and “say this prayer at this time” and six-hundred-plus other rules, we got two.
Love God, and love your neighbor as yourself.
Which really is only one rule. Love.
We can build anything with that rule.
We can build houses for the homeless. We can build schools to teach people how to read and take care of themselves. We can build hospitals so people can get well. We can build farms so we can grow healthy food. We can build gyms so we can exercise and get strong.
And you don’t even need a hammer or a screwdriver to use it.