One of my responsibilities as a tutor with a Christian Counselling Training organisation is to assess my students written assignments, of which “Evaluate and Provide Therapy for Psychopathological Disorders” is what I am currently marking. It is interesting how in a clinical context such as the DSM-5 (the long-awaited, controversial new edition of the bible of psychiatry), the word “disorder” is used to describe the now over 300 maladies identified with being human.
This got me thinking, from a gospel perspective… in some ways it is actually a good word to describe the story of what went wrong with the world.
The world as we know it is essentially “disordered” compared to God’s original good order that we find in the opening chapters of the bible, namely Genesis 1 and 2.
Like the planets in our galaxy that revolve around our sun in harmonious order, God made everything in this world, our hearts and the universe to center around him. The disorder we find our world in, is akin to one of the planets in our galaxy deciding that IT wants to be the center and breaks order, thereby throwing the natural order into chaos and confusion. Planets crashing into each other!
When mankind originally broke rank with God as recorded in Genesis 3, we put ourselves at the center instead of God, this broke God’s perfect world order and now our hearts are out of step with God and the universe and each other and our own selves!
The world is essentially in a state of disorder because our hearts are full of “disordered loves” as St Augustine once said. Instead of joyfully loving God supremely, our loves are now “disordered” as we love other things and ourselves more than and instead of God and others, as ourselves. This is essentially the basic definition of what sin is, not loving the Lord our God with all our heart, mind and soul and our neighbour as ourselves! Indeed we live in a broken world with many disordered loves!
Thank God that he has not left us to fix up our “disorders” on our own, but he has stepped into our mess, rolled up his sleeves and started to re-order the chaos. Jesus Christ, who through his obedience to the Father’s order, absorbed the consequences of our disordered lives, even unto death on the cross, reordering creation through the victory of his resurrection, he now offers to include us into his new world order! Through trusting Jesus and joyfully reordering our lives around God at the centre, we get to join in on the mission of reordering all of creation for God’s glory, the good of others and our own highest joy!
Although the reordering has already started, the last two chapters of the bible (Revelation 21-22) point to this seemingly unbelievable new order that is coming.
In summary, looking at the bookends of the bible (Gen 1-2 and Rev 21-22) and everything that happens in-between, we could sum up the story line this way:
God’s Original Good Order
God’s Good Order Falls into Disorder
God’s Plan with Man to Re-Order
God’s Good Man brings in a New Order
What do you think, could that work?
Better get back to marking all those Psychopathological Disorders…