Editor’s note: August brings another post from guest contributor “Matthew.” Enjoy!
Bloggister (“blogging minister”) Andy Reese recently posted on his Facebook page a little blurb called “Self Portraits of God” – worth the read (seriously, stop and read it . . . it’s not long) – that reminded me how easy it is to re-create God for ourselves in an image of our own choosing. This hits home for a couple of reasons: I have done this – and I genuinely want always to be wary of doing it again; and, I have a young [gay Christian] friend who is truly horrified that God is not 100% love—according to his personal definition of love. He is deeply frightened by the wrathful God of Ezekiel, and he cannot believe that God would “require His followers to be merciful when He Himself cannot always show mercy” – the latter bit referring to both
- The existence of a very real and eternal hell for the unrepentant, and
- The age-old question of those who have never heard the Gospel.
There is a lot of ground to cover in all that, but I will not do so here – although it is eminently doable (read Christ’s own words in John 5 for a solid start on these topics).
Back to the issue of the God we want to have . . .
President Thomas Jefferson re-created God for himself when he shredded the Holy Scriptures, reducing God’s Word to include only selected moral teachings of Christ, The Jefferson Bible, in which there is no mention of heaven or hell, miracles or the supernatural, or Jesus’ resurrection and divinity. How sad that we cannot accept the infinite and eternal Creator on His terms, that we trust logic and science and our own finite experiences over the God who spread the vast galaxies throughout an even vaster expanding vastness! (Big Bang? Perhaps … but who lit the fuse?) We want control rather than self-control (Galatians 5:22–23), so it makes “logical” sense that we should have a god we can contain. The problem here is that when angels attempted this, hell was quite suddenly populated.
Why can’t God’s love be wrathful?
There is a fullness of God that is incomprehensible to our finite gray matter—minds that last only a few short decades, that constantly change, that can be too easily influenced, that are riddled with depression and psychoses, that are subject to Alzheimer’s and dementia . . . yes, let’s trust that mess! There is a richness to the Truth, depths and dimensions that astrophysicists will never be able to define or discover. Is He 100% love? Of course – and then some, I’m certain, since heavenly math would surely be every bit as incomprehensible as God’s fullness! So who’s to say that love is merely the mushy-gushy syrupy slop that shrinks and entertainers tell us it is? Why can’t God’s love be wrathful? Since God cannot endure sin, and since He will protect all heaven’s beings – including His saints – from evil, there must be a hell, a storehouse for Satan, his fallen minions, and those destined for destruction from among humankind. Honestly, I’d rather have an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, good-loving, evil-hating Creator, Protector God than George Burns!
Is there not, after all – if God is indeed Who He says He is – an eternity’s-worth more to know?
Those who dare attempt to “remake” God as they want Him to be will suffer with that idol, the “two-dimensional painted god” of whom Andy Reese speaks. Let us seek, instead, to let God remake us – as He wants us to be. Let us seek to know the Immutable Almighty God fuller and fresher each passing day. Is there not, after all – if God is indeed Who He says He is – an eternity’s-worth more to know?