Be Still and Know that I Am God

Jesus took Peter, James, and his brother, John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing with him. 

Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, "Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah."  

While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, then from the cloud came a voice that said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him." When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate and were very much afraid.

Matthew 17:1-9

Nestled in this story is some Scriptural humor:  In the presence of the divine, Peter is yammering on about building booths. God interrupts him mid-sentence and Peter throws himself to the ground.

This is not the first time in Scripture where God waves off the efforts of human beings.  In Exodus, as the Egyptians are closing in on the escaping Israelites, Moses counsels, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord which He will work for you today.  The Lord will fight for you and you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:13).  This mirrors Psalm 46:10: “Be still and know that I am God.”

If we do not have free will, as neuroscience suggests, then God cannot reward or punish us on the basis of our acts or beliefs.  This moves faith to existential ground – where faith does not require us to accomplish anything or believe anything.  We are not here to try to pass any tests or please an implacable god. This doesn’t come naturally to us and requires μετανοέω – a term that is so often misinterpreted in Scripture as “repentance," but is better understood as a wholesale change of mindset.