Sunday, July 29, 2012


These truths have been taken at face value by many of us. Let me reiterate, that approach is not entirely wrong. When it comes to issues of faith and God, there are many things we must simply take at face value. For example the truth that God is omnipresent is one such truth. No matter how much I try to understand it, I will never fully comprehend this reality. However, in taking things at face value, we run the risk of missing some deeper truths. And the way I see it, when it comes to many of these truths we are about to look at, we have done God a severe injustice. Each of them has been placed neatly in a box we have been carrying around.

Before we go any further, there are a few things you need to know about this box. First thing's first; I am not talking about a literal box. (The idea that we actually tote around a box is preposterous. If you happen to literally have the box I am about to describe, you may want to stop reading, find the nearest trash can and throw it away. I'm sure you're getting tired of lugging it around.) Rather, each of us sub-consciously carries this box around. And inside we place only that which can be observed with our five senses. Translation--in the scheme of things, this box is pretty small! On the outside of the box is a label that reads "God." Overall, this has resulted in a diminished understanding of who God is and how God operates.

Lucky for all of us, my God box happens to be sitting at my desk as I write this. I'm going to open it up and see what ideas about God we have been placed in this tiny container. In this list you will find 4 common truths (in no way are these exhaustive) about the nature of God that we have exchanged for lies.

Truth #1: God is a God that can be known. 
"And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth." (John 17:3)

Truth #2: God is a God that is changeless. 
"I am the LORD, and I do not change." (Malachi 3:6a)

Truth #3: God is a God of absolutes.
"All he does is just and good, and all his commandments are trustworthy. They are forever true, to be obeyed faithfully and with integrity." (Psalm 111:7-8)

Truth #4: God is a God of law.
"Don't misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God's law will disappear until its purpose is achieved." (Matthew )

At the onset of this, I hope you realize each of these statements is entirely factual. These ideas come straight from Scripture. They are 100% true. No falsehood can be found in any of them. However, as we will see over the course of this discussion, these truths have been taken to some illogical conclusions. The result is that we have painted an inaccurate portrait of the reality that is God.

Several summers ago I spent a week on vacation in Las Vegas. A lot of walking (I mean a lot) and a ridiculous amount of sight seeing was done. There was an exorbitant amount of pictures taken, several shows were attended, and did I mention there was a lot of walking that took place? And of course I had to purchase several souvenirs. One of my favorite souvenirs from that trip was a drawing. However, this was no ordinary drawing. Only one of it's kind exists in the entire world. It's probably even worth millions of dollars!

I bought this drawing while wandering around in one of the hotels. I stumbled across an artist that specialized in caricatures. In order to commemorate the trip I had one done. Just sitting there was pretty entertaining. Everyone that walked by would stop to look at the picture, then look at me, then look back at the picture and give me a thumbs up or smile. One passerby even burst into laughter. I have to admit that one made me a bit nervous. In case you aren't sure what a caricature is, let me give you a definition. A caricature is a representation, especially pictorial, in which the subject's distinctive features or peculiarities are deliberately exaggerated to produce a comic or grotesque effect.

This is exactly what we have done with many of these “truths” of God.  We have (whether accidentally or deliberately) made God, in a sense, into a caricature—exaggerating His traits that we can relate to most or those that seem most viable to us.

It's time we address the first truth and it's corresponding lie.

Some within the Christian faith have taken the truth that God can be known and twisted it in such a way that they believe He is a God who can be understood. But if we turn to Isaiah 55:8-9, we find this just isn't the case. To all of us, God says: "My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts. And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts."

Please don't misunderstand the point I am making. In no way do I want you to believe God is this distant being so different from us that he cannot be known at all. There are some religions (and even some Christians) that will hold to this truth. Sometimes they will argue that god is so unique from humanity it is absurd to think that finite humans can relate or know him in any significant way. This is not so when it comes to the God of Christianity. I contend that although we cannot fully know everything about God, we can still know him. Notice I said we can know him, not necessarily understand him. There is a big difference, which Isaiah clarifies! 

If that isn't proof enough, look to the book of Job. In there you will find a section titled "The Unanswerables." Here God asks Job a series of questions that, as you might guess, Job has no answers for. For example, he asks Job questions like: Where were you when the earth was created? Who put the boundaries on the water? Can you tell the sun when to rise and when to set?

Although God cannot be understood, we can know many true things about him. For example, we know that God is love 1 John 4:8, "But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love." Elsewhere in Scripture we discover that God is spirit John 4:24, "For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth." Perhaps you have even heard God referred to as being just or righteous, Romans 3:26 says "...God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus." These traits of God have been revealed to us via many different avenues. However, they are more than mere facts to be stored in our mind. They are truths we can see and experience in life every day, if only our eyes are open. 

Since God has chosen to reveal himself to his creation in a variety of ways we can know him personally, meaningfully, and significantly. Albeit in a limited but ever-increasing way throughout eternity.

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