‘Without me you can do nothing’ (John 15:5) pretty much puts us in our place!! Of course that has a context so I am going to press some other directions as to our ‘place’.
The original Genesis pictures are of some measure of delegation of authority to humanity with respect to the earth, which is re-iterated in, for example, Psalm 115:16
The highest heavens belong to the Lord.
But he has given the earth to human beings.
The freaky part would be if in this aspect of delegation there was an inevitable limitation that God embraced. For me this makes sense at every level. The ensuing conflict and hostility is not between God and the serpent but between the seed of the serpent and the seed of woman. This is followed through with the Incarnation (born of a woman) who comes at a time of fullness to ‘destroy the works of the devil’. This overcoming is seen in the wilderness time of trial, and in particular at the cross. There seems a good basis to suggest the wilderness was with regard to the effective kingdom expression in the context of the remnant of Israel (the 12 + wider community of disciples), so that through the cross there can be a declaration of the kingdom throughout the inhabited earth.
Can God do nothing without us? This does not seem to be the case as from the beginning s/he enters the world of Eden, later we read of the protection of Cain, so s/he is not totally on the outside looking in. In Isaiah 59:16 we read
He sees that there is no one who helps his people.
He is shocked that no one stands up for them.
So he will use his own powerful arm to save them.
He has the strength to do it because he is holy.
It is probably hard to go to the extreme that there is no intervention from heaven, but it is probably possible to hold that there are certain interventions that do not take place without invitation, and that the norm is for divine intervention to follow human invitation.
It would seem to me that the issue Jesus came to settle was the restoration of humanity to their appointed place. His claim to having received all authority has the (implied) consequence that this authority has been released also for those who ‘go’.
In these posts that are exploring the conceptual elements of time, timelessness etc., the real issues are ‘so what…’ If there is traction in what I am suggesting then I think there are at least two key implications.
1) how the body of Christ positions herself with regard to the world is very key. If it is ‘rule over’ I cannot see that as embracing the cruciform path. It needs to be one of servant to the world so that the outworkings of the cross (the ‘it is finished’ part) can be seen in evidence in the world. Where the body of Christ does not follow this path, perhaps the resulting problems could be greater as a result.
2) the invitation to God to intervene becomes one of the key roles for the body of Christ. Prayer, but intercession at the deepest level of positioning then would be very key. Standing between what is and what is to come would be the requirement.
If we place this again in an eschatological setting we can hold that the age to come breaking in fullness is not dependent on a future calendar date but to a fullness of contribution that the body of Christ has made.
All in all, for me makes sense of the apparent lack of interventions from heaven; presents a challenge to discover ‘what do you want me to do?’ and ‘how do you want me to live?’. Then getting the balance of we are not created as workers but as companions to the God of heaven is important, because it is certainly not down to us in the sense of performance. Work without relationship is not going to be the way forward.