Genesis 2:7 states that God formed Adam out of dust. It does not suggest that God used a cookie cutter to do it. Adam was hand-crafted by God. He was not made on a divine production line.

Adam's first two sons were distinctive individuals. Abel and Cain were literally as different as light and darkness. No cookie cutter reproductions there.

The Israelite men through whom God worked were distinctly different. Moses was the man of meekness; David was an aggressive man of war; and Elijah such an eccentric we would have labeled him weird. No cookie cutter types here.

Neither did Jesus use a cookie cutter. His disciples were not spiritual reproductions formed on a divine assembly line.

When Jesus selected the twelve men to be his special disciples, he did not look for duplicates. He did not seek clones who talked, acted, and thought as people who were spiritually formed by a divine cookie cutter.

James and John had thundering personalities. They wanted to protect "the significance and integrity" of Jesus (Luke 9:51-56). They also sought prominent positions in the group (Mark 10:35-45). John ordered a man not to cast demons out of people in Jesus' name because he was not part of "the group" (Luke 9:49-50).

Peter was the outspoken one who never failed to say something. Previously, Matthew collected taxes that probably helped support the Roman army. Simon came from a radical religious sect that used violence to pursue their purposes. Thomas could step forward with courage (John 11:16), or he could be filled with doubt (John 20:24,25). No cookie cutter used here.

Jesus reached out to Mary Magdalene (who had seven evil spirits), Nicodemus (a member of the Jewish supreme court), a Samaritan woman (who was an outcast in her own community), a weeping prostitute (whose penitent behavior was publicly unacceptable), and a dying thief (a skeptic who was convinced). No cookie cutter in evidence here.

Imagine a congregation with Moses, David, Elijah, James, John, Peter, Matthew, Simon, Thomas, Mary Magdalene, Nicodemus, the Samaritan woman, and the forgiven prostitute as members. Talk about diversity! Yet, God touched and used each of them--and uses them thousands of years after they died!

Why did we create the idea that God commissioned us to use a divinely patented cooker cutter? Why did we decide that every Christian must look alike, think alike, and behave alike spiritually? God loves individuals as individuals. God saves individuals as individuals. Thank you, God!

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 23 November 1997

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