After the previous article entitled “Evil and Man”, I received many messages, most of them concentrated on the meaning of freedom in relation to humans and their fates; that’s why I would like to write about freedom.
As I previously mentioned that God – Glory to His name – granted man the freedom to choose the path in which he would like to walk. All religions expressed the importance of man’s dignity and the freedom granted to him from God. Even that God – Glory to His name – left the choice to man to follow his commandments or not; but to take full responsibility for his choices. In Christianity: “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess.”
In Islam: (Say, “O disbelievers,I do not worship what you worship.Nor are you worshippers of what I worship.Nor will I be a worshipper of what you worship.Nor will you be worshippers of what I worship.For you is your religion, and for me is my religion.)
That’s how man was created with that gift: to choose the path he wants, and that freedom was accompanied by a commandment from God to our father Adam in order to live happily: of every tree of the garden he may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil he shall not eat.
Some people may ask: Why didn’t God prevent man from eating by force from that tree without any commandment? Wasn’t He able to do so?!
Yes, God can do everything but He never backs down from His gifts to man including his free will; that’s why He advised and guided our father Adam in the commandment, warning him from the consequences of disobedience: which meant death; then He gave him the freedom of obedience.
Then the temptation came along carrying a great seduction: you will be like God!!! A new feeling of seeking perfection arose in humanity; man desired to control everything as he wanted to make himself a god – God forbids!!
Thus all the features of true freedom disappeared in man’s self fulfillment and his desires, forgetting his responsibilities to others and humanity. Also some people turned a blind eye to their responsibilities in respecting the freedom of others and justice disappeared from their hearts.
The journey of humanity on Earth has become a path in which some of them are trying to make themselves centers of attention; their pursuit never stopped to own things that allow them to achieve that purpose: as knowledge, power, authority, money…etc.
During that conflict they forgot or pretended to forget that true freedom isn’t in achieving their own freedom and constraining others’ freedom by controlling their matters or fates. On the contrary it includes in itself a respect to all humans’ freedom. As Abraham Lincoln, the liberator of the slaves, said: “Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.”
Man was created for a certain message and he undertakes the responsibility of its fulfillment, in addition God gave him the path of goodness through His commandments and teachings which leads to both his and the others’ success. Getting away from these commandments: as we see it in the principles of justice, wisdom, cooperation, honesty, devotion and determination…etc, which carries goodness to man and the entire world; is to be considered a disregarding to the factors of success and construction. While following the twisted ways in life even if it showed a bit of success at the beginning but it will only lead to failure and destruction of all human lives.
Thus we must realize that humans have only two ways: either to follow the principles of goodness or to avoid it. Either to work with devotion to fulfill their message by supporting, encouraging and cooperating each other, or to work only for themselves at the expense of others by controlling fates and destroying souls. Unfortunately, that is what the world witnesses and faces nowadays!!
Stories about Beautiful Egypt never end!
Head of the Coptic Orthodox Cultural Center
20 May 2020