I first encountered the term “God’s project” in an essay by Joseph Tetlow, SJ. I think it’s an idea worth considering further. Looking at the world as God’s project has some powerful implications. For example:
1. It emphasizes the radical human freedom with which God has created us, and the passion God brings to persuading us to help God create a kingdom of goodness, truth, and beauty.
2. It allows us to see human evil as getting in the way, but not abolishing the project. Grace is still everywhere—”God in all things“—and this is why even amidst horrible evil there can still be profound grace. God is still laboring at the project even when people abandon it; God is still passionately calling new laborers to the vineyard.
3. It allows us to see why “where sin increases, grace abounds all the more” (cf. Romans 5:20). We lose sight of the grand design of the project and focus narrowly on something limited, something which appears good for a moment but is not ordered toward the project.
4. It helps us understand what prayer is all about: the practice of discerning the project in all its intricate dimensions, and aligning our desires with God’s desires.
5. It helps us see our very selves as part of that project, and others as well.
6. It reminds us that the project is at once about the “now”—every hair on my head—and the “forever”—the whole of human history, cosmic history, and eternity.
7. It is a reminder that our halting attempts at love are “practice,” and that as we become more adept at love we contribute more and more to the unfolding of the project, increasingly awed by the way God uses our small selves to paint and sculpt the world with great beauty.