Friday, January 8, 2010

What If God Were One of Us

The song asks, and then retorts, “just a slob like one of us” … It is good for us to understand the lengths that Christ went to on our behalf, how much He was tempted like we are, suffered like we do, even died like one of us albeit He was tortured to death and eventually died of a literal broken heart. In many ways Christ was more human than us. But to attempt to put boundaries around Him, that would constrain Him to be no more than any one of us, is to take this attempt at understanding to a new dimension of dumb. In point of fact, God was not just one of us, He is so much more.

Man’s natural inclination is to humanize things in order to equate to them. Children give toys and inanimate objects character traits in a pretend world. Adults extend this same phenomenon but under the guise of logic and reason, attempting to down-play anything they do not understand as non-existent. Those that do not believe in Christ as a God who saves us, throw out His virgin birth, miracle based life’s work, and testimonials of all those who witnessed His physical presence after His death. The most they are willing to acknowledge is His teachings on love and self-sacrifice, minus anything that would make Him divine. They leave the man and throw out the God because they cannot equate to a God.

But this portrait of Christ, though inaccurate, may be less detrimental to His character and image than those who do claim to believe in His divinity and mission in saving us – yet they humanize Him to such an extent that He would tolerate and even participate in evil in its various forms. Even some Christians are not convinced of His virgin birth, miraculous life’s work, or purported resurrection. Christians who contemplate the possible “truth” of the Divinci Code, or the gospel of Judas or Mary, of the idea that perhaps Christ was either gay with John the Beloved, or fooling around with Mary Magdalene the prostitute (town slut). These weak minded believers so pollute and humanize our God that they inadvertently accomplish stripping Him of any divinity more effectively than those who simply deny Him outright.

We cannot equate to a God. Cheating and having sex is something we can equate to. Living an entire life based on service to others, having the power of creation itself within you – but choosing to live without ever using it for your own self-interests is something we cannot equate to. So for some, instead of admiring and aspiring to emulate Christ’s perfect example, we denigrate him with lowered expectations and weak faith. The worst part, is that we lose His message of love, generally in favor of a guilt laden self-created message of judgment and condemnation to take its place.

It is funny how little we understand about God, about being God, or what God is like. We think we “know” God because we read scriptures. But scripture tells us that the chief rebel of the universe Lucifer, now Satan, never even aspired to be anything more than simply – “Like” the most high. Satan craved the worship, power, and abilities of God, but even the 3rd highest created being of all time so far, was smart enough to know, that the best he could ever hope to do, was to be “like” God. He could not possibly BE God, let alone surpass God. Satan’s highest ambitions reflect a better understanding about being God, than our purported “knowledge”.

Because we refer to God in a family based analogy does not ever limit Him in any way. It elevates us. Calling Christ our brother, and God our Father helps us to understand our relationship – it does NOT define the Nature of either of them. We are encouraged to talk to God as we would talk to a close friend. He does know everything about us. He is the only one who can read our thoughts, decipher our motives, and judge our actions – past our words and what it may look like. He is close to us, and desires a relationship based on friendship with us. But He is ALWAYS God. We are less than ants. Because God chooses friendship with an ant does not make God any less, it makes the ant worth a bit more.

Once this process that God has started for our reconciliation with Him is complete, we will have all eternity to begin to understand what God is. What it means to be God. And even after eternity passes, our minds will only begin to understand it. It is simple physics that the finite cannot define the infinite. The created cannot define the boundaries of the Creator. We have only our perspective. Our limitations, both self imposed, influenced by evil, and inherent within us keep us from comprehending the infinite nature of our God. Our lack of full knowledge is no excuse to attempt to bring God down to our natural or debased natures; rather, it should serve as inspiration to reach up to what we know about His.

We can lose a sense of awe or of reverence when we so familiarize ourselves with our ‘buddy’ God that we forget just Who our ‘buddy’ is. Hollywood has been no help with this either. The entire horror genre is based on a ‘scary’ evil which man either fights alone (the total absence of God from the concept) or fights in the name of a benign, unsympathetic and only marginally paying attention God. Movies like the Exorcist, or End of Days, paint man as the hero fighting in the name of a God, but do nothing to show God engaged in the battle. The way Hollywood describes it, when something evil this way comes, there is no God, or only a wimp God to look to for defense. Thus the image of God becomes one of “what good is He in a fight?”

The truth is so entirely different, and real life so entirely more terrifying. Beyond the immediate scope of human eyes is a world of the supernatural. In it are two remaining forces diametrically opposed to each other. They have been at war since rebellion broke out in the Universe. The evil side rivals any imagery of monsters you have seen in a movie and has intentions far more graphic and horrific than any you can imagine. They would gladly inflict all of this on you in a moment’s notice. But here is where Hollywood preconceptions must be put to an end in order to reflect reality. Angels and to some extent demons (former angels now corrupted by years of absence from God and intent to do evil) are scary beings when put next to humans. Were we to fight them physically we would lose flat out. But God is not us. He is not constrained to some limits in His power, majesty, and love. Against Him, NOTHING can stand – not all of the hate in existence, not death itself, no power seen or unseen has any shot at standing in opposition before Him for even a nanosecond.

This fact would severely change the plots of most Hollywood horror films. How good would the movie be, if the human hero merely called out for help from our Creator God, and the opposing monster was obliterated completely and permanently in less than a nanosecond? Note that man had no part in the destruction of evil as we are way less than effective in this. But God’s destruction would be immediate, and permanent. No chance for any sequel in the scripts written to reflect reality. Where the tension enters the picture is mans seemingly limitless ability to flirt with evil without ever calling for God’s help to destroy it. In this we are all collective experts. Rather than flee from evil we approach it. Rather than call down the eternal destruction of evil, we allow evil to do tricks for us, through us, and with us – until we reach a point we don’t want its destruction. Yes this would be the first reality based horror movie of all time. It might restore a bit of God’s honor to know just how powerful He is, and if nothing else, would depict man for his own true nature and the reason why evil is allowed to exist in this world of ours – chiefly because we let it.

Our God is more than our buddy, more than a loving Father figure, more than a brother who has always been there for us. Our God is the source of infinite power, infinite love, and infinite grace. His ability to destroy is unmatched, but He is not known for that, He is known for His ability to restore, to heal, and reconcile through forgiveness with a stiff necked, self centered, self absorbed group of ants. The infinite has reached out in love to show the finite how much it is valued by its creator. The whole story of the gospel is a love story from cover to cover. It is not about judgment but of redemption. It is not about eternal separation from God, but eternal proximity. We are not destined to fail, but have already been selected for Salvation. I praise my God of creation and restoration, and ask that He absolutely destroy the evil that lurks within me, and within the world around me…

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