Independence is an Illusion

Last week I preached on Genesis 4:17-26 which is mainly showing us God’s providence over His creation and how He maintains His covenant to save those who belong to him. It also shows the degrading morality of Cain’s descendants as they attempt to live independently from God. Cain builds a city, probably for his own protection. His son Lamech decides he knows better than God and marries two wives. Lamech’s children seem to excel and develop industry, agriculture, and the arts but all without God’s presence. They believed they were living large and autonomous lives without the need for God, you can feel the boasting in the words. In the end Lamech ends up killing a young man for wounding him which goes beyond what is allowed for retribution in the law and then he goes on to sing a song boasting about it to his two wives!

This is such a clear picture of God giving sinners over to their sin. First there is running from God and then replacing God, and then their calloused hearts make every attempt to eliminate any thought or word reminding them of God. They believe they are living autonomous lives apart from God but in reality, they are fully under God’s control. They also are depending on their own sinful desires and the sinful desires of others which leads to further and further destruction in their lives.

As I was preparing for this passage, I stumbled across an article in Psychology today by Jim Taylor, Ph.D. which I found to be both fascinating as well as sad.

Jim first wrote an article in 2010 declaring the benefits and explaining how to raise independent children who will thrive in the world. He also dedicated a chapter in one of his books to this concept. In 2018 he wrote another article called “Don’t raise independent children” where he states that after raising two teenage daughters, he was dead wrong about this concept of raising independent children. He goes on to state the following…

“I realized that independence is an illusion. As human beings, we are social creature’s incapable of being truly independent. Rather, we depend on others all the time. The key here is who are dependent on. If you foster what you believe is independence in your children, what you are really doing is detaching yourself from your children. In this disconnected state, your children will seek out others to become dependent on for their values and attitudes about themselves and the world, support and validation, and a sense of connectedness.

Here’s the problem. The two most likely groups that your children will glom onto are their peers and our popular culture. And let me say right now and unequivocally that you don’t want either of these to be whom your children become dependent on.”

Jim Taylor, Ph.D. (1)

I find it fascinating that Jim, who I assume is not a Christian can see from real life experience that independence is an illusion and people need and always depend on someone or something else. What I find sad is that Jim does not know why this is true and what to do about it.

The reason why independence is an illusion is because we were made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27), made to depend on God, made to worship Him and reflect His glory back to Him and to others (Isaiah 43:7). A better word for independence would be rebellion.

The sooner we realize our desperate need for God, the sooner we realize that our purpose is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.

For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

Romans 11:36


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