‘When the cherubim stood still, they also stood still; and when the cherubim rose, they rose with them, because the spirit of the living creatures was in them. ‘(Ezekiel 10v17)
In this verse, we encounter an issue of semantics. We are informed that when the cherubim stood still so did those other things in their proximity. Likewise, as the cherubim rose, so too did these other things with them – all of which is explained as happening because the spirit of the living creatures was in them – but what does this mean?
Years ago – while doing my theological training – I came across the term ‘Kenotic Theory’ in a book by Keith Ward. Hopefully, I remember the definition correctly here but it meant something along the lines of ‘God emptying Himself’ which is useful because it facilitates our human understanding of why and how humans are enabled to possess freewill. A feat that is only permissible because God creates and facilitates a universe in which humans are able to obey or go against God’s perfect will (should they so choose) because God allows them the opportunity to deny His existence should they so choose.
In a world in which God – in his love –
- can’t be seen
- doesn’t retaliate against words made against him
it is easy to imagine that God is either not there or (at the very least) concerned by our antics. However, the act of emptying oneself is not a permanent state of existence but rather a temporary one. In the blink of an eye, God could reveal himself to the nations, creating turmoil for people who now have to face up to the existence of God and how they have or haven’t responded to Him.
Why did the cherubim and the other creatures in God’s presence respond in tandem as ‘one’ to the movement of the Spirit? Because in the heavenly realm, the necessity for human freewill is superceded as here the divine presence of God is not empty but full to overflowing. The cherubims and other creatures could not help but respond to God’s Presence as this is the zenith of their existence and raison d’être – and so too it one day will be ares also as we thrown our golden crowns before Him.