I'm really, really disturbed.
The more I listen to people, even priests, the more I'm convinced that most people have replaced God with an idol of their own making. My first realization of this came to me when one of the brothers was recounting a story about a class he was taking. The professor wanted to know how we can account for God condoning and commanding violence in the Old Testament. One student said that she was uncomfortable with a God like that. Wait. What!!!?? Seriously!!!??
This sort of thing sends me SO ANGRY!
This is only one example of the way people recreate God in our own image. I hear people do it all the time. Philosophers and Theologians are always trying to make God less than what he is. I think they are genuine in their desire for God. However, they often lose sight of the ramifications for their statements.
They want God to be surprised. They want God to be changed by our prayers. They want God to suffer along with us. But, what they don't realize is that if God does any of these things then he is not God – he is unworthy of worship. Let me break it down:
- Surprised God = God lacking knowledge
- Changed God by prayers = God lacking in knowledge & goodness
- Suffering God = God lacking power
In the end, all of these things do violence to the absolute perfection and transcendence of God. If God is limited in his knowledge, power, perfection, goodness, etc., then he is not God, he becomes a thing among other things.
The young lady wasn't comfortable with a God who commands violence. I'm not comfortable with a God who lacks the ability to command violence. I'm not comfortable with a constrained God. I'm not comfortable with an image of God that isn't God!
I don't want this post to be about the philosophy of God. I simply want to point out that God is more than all these things. The world says that God needs to be relevant. What it means by this, however, is that God needs to be an emotional salve for my emotional wounds. On the contrary, God is not relevant in this way. The world wants us to believe that God needs us.
God doesn't need any of us. It is the fact that God doesn't need us that makes his love for us all that more great. We don't increase his glory, we don't add to his goodness, we can't change him, we can't effect him. We can't DO anything for God. But, it is because of all this that his act of creation is so awesome. We do nothing for God, but he does everything for us. His love for us is unmerited, undeserved. There is no way for us to merit or deserve his love. He simply grants it because he loves us.
It's that simple.
So, who cares if you aren't comfortable with God! The reality of God doesn't hinge upon your comfort level. But, your existence hinges upon God's reality.
We can't punish God with our doubt or disbelief.
We must learn to not explain away God's actions. We simply need to try and understand the vastness of the mystery of God. We need to smash the Golden Calf in our mind and turn again to the true God who is infinitely transcendent.
God is beyond anything you can conceive of in your mind.
If you can conceive of God ... that's not God.