May 1, 2011

Imagining God – Frank Himmel

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

The feature article in last Sunday’s USA Weekend was How Americans Imagine God. The magazine asked readers to e-mail their descriptions of God. Among the published entries were:

  • A great living Father who lets me climb into his lap.
  • A mother cradling a child, a heart afire with passion, the willingness to sacrifice for another’s benefit.
  • God speaks to us through the voice of reason and the light of love.
  • Unyielding love, grace, and mercy.
  • Love, beauty, goodness, truth, and compassion.
  • God does not erect borders of separation and distance, God bursts open every barrier that would seal us in our aloneness.
  • Like me because she is me and I am her. She is something you feel within your soul.

The title of the USA Weekend article is both accurate and sad: accurate, in that a number of the submissions are clearly imaginary, and sad, in that it does not have to be this way.

God need not be imaginary; He has revealed Himself. He made known His power and existence in creation. “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made …” (Romans 1:20). He made known His character both in His word and in His Son, who is “the exact representation of His nature” (Hebrews 1:3).

Sadly, many choose to ignore God’s objective self-revelation, preferring their own personal perceptions. That is nothing new. In the Old Testament, God condemned Israel with the charge, “You thought that I was just like you” (Psalm 50:21). And in the New Testament era, Jesus often noted how the Jews of His generation, despite having God’s word, did not know Him (John 8:19,55; 15:21; 16:3).

Remember Paul’s common sense illustration: “For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:11). Despite claims to the contrary, we do not have intuitive knowledge of God’s will, He does not speak directly to our hearts, nor do we feel Him within our souls. To know the mind of God we must listen to His words.

The author of the USA Weekend article noted that the one common thread in most all the pictures of God was: God is love. Yes, He is. I know that, not because I want Him to be so, but because He said He is (1 John 4:8,16). And while I take great comfort and hope in that fact, I dare not emphasize that to the exclusion of His other self-revealed characteristics. In Paul’s words, “Behold then the kindness and severity of God” (Romans 11:22).    December 26, 2010

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