Is he God because he has power, or does he have power because he is God?
As a man thinks in his heart, so is he. To a man, power is the prerequisite of sovereignty. “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun,” stated Mao. We believe one must have power in order to ascend. To take an established throne, or to establish a new throne, requires a show of power.
Lucifer says, “I will ascend to heaven. I will raise my throne above the stars of God. I will ascend to the tops of the clouds. I will make myself like the Most High.” Here was a being that thought that having power could make you God. But of God, Jeremiah declares, “The Lord is the God of truth; he is the living God, the eternal King.”
God, the eternal King, had no need to ascend, therefore his power is a result, not a reason. In human terms you can view it like inheritance. When the king’s son inherits the throne after the death of his father, the power he wields comes as a result of the position he has now obtained. The reason he has that position is inheritance.
This is why the journey to become as God is isn’t one based on demonstrating power – “When I am weak, then I am strong,” says Paul – but upon inheritance – “He destined us for adoption as his children, through Jesus Christ, in whom we also have obtained an inheritance.” The world wants a sign, a show of power, in order to declare God. They want the barrel of Mao’s rifle. But we are told that it is the kingdom that is in power. When the desired sign comes, the day of declaration has already passed them by.
The earth has been given to men, therefore only a man can ascend. This is why the dragon of the Book of Revelation does not rule, but gives his power, his throne and his authority to the beast, the beast who ascends from the sea. This is in contrast with Christ, of whom it is said that he ascended on high and took captivity captive; he of whom it is also said, “The kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ.” Having become man, it now became his right to ascend.
This pattern runs through scripture. One example: God says to Abram (Abraham), “Ascend. Walk through the land, for I am giving it to you.” This ascension was the act that gave Abram the promise of sovereignty.
Finally, this relationship ties directly to Spirit. Spirit is not found in doing, but in being. That is why eternal life comes not through works, but by inheritance – speaking as a man. We are told that God is Spirit, and we have come to think of Spirit as the embodiment of God, which is quite oxymoronic. Physically we inhabit bodies, and exist because our bodies exist. Remove the physical body, and we are physically gone. This is not so with God and Spirit. God does not exist because he inhabits Spirit, but Spirit is because of the existence of God, therefore God rules over Spirit even while being Spirit. This is one of the reasons we are told to rule over our physical bodies.
Extra credit question: It is not on the basis of works, but by grace, therefore grace parallels inheritance. Explain.