The Irony of Spiritual Autonomy
The word “autonomy” comes from two Greek words— “auto” meaning “self,” and ”nomos” meaning “law.” In other words, it is self-law or self-governance.
In most contexts, self-governance is good. People generally thrive and grow when the primary responsibility for their own success falls on them rather than someone else. So, governments, workplaces, schools, should all give people as much autonomy as reasonable in order to maximize liberty and the potential for growth.
Contrarily, there is one area of human life where autonomy is not good, and that is in relationship with God and his law. In fact, the only reason man can be autonomous in the other realms of life is because those realms are not his ultimate authority. However, when man rejects God as his authority and becomes autonomous morally and spiritually, the irony is that he actually becomes a slave. Man can never be fully autonomous, so he will always look for something, whether that be government or relationships, to be his master. Everyone is a slave. The question is “who is your master?”