Preferring to understand the big picture, I embarked on a mission to comprehend God, vainly hoping the more I understood him and his nature and his essence, the better I could follow. Easier for an ant to assess Einstein. Unable to grasp the core of God in the vast distance between our natures, I drifted—until I yielded on the attempt.
But one truth came clear—the alienness of God. Not at all in a negative way. I yearn for a God who far transcends me, not merely a glorified being with primarily human traits. The good news—we have that kind of God. A God that, in many ways, stands in opposition to our natural ways. Three primary examples.
Yes, God created us in his image, but we’ve allowed sin to stain and distort much of that. God remains free of that damage, and the distance is vast.
Our very natures diverge—humans limited by our finiteness, in so many dimensions. Therefore, we struggle to grasp the infiniteness of God. The ant and Einstein once more, in an impossible dream.
Last, we live in a culture with values typically antithetical to God, and those values impact both followers of Jesus and his body, the church. A good friend, David Timms, and I wrote a book exploring that, Just Leave God Out of It, that you might want to read if you doubt the extent of our infected we’ve allowed ourselves to become.
Our pastor, Doug Posey, focused on a line the last two weeks, in his series on Ephesians. “But God…” (2:4, mostly). I came home today and opened my Online Study Bible, searching for “But God,” and found 549 times those words came up. For “But Jesus” we can add another 157. Granted, some don’t represent this, but the great majority do. God acts in ways alien to how we humans would.
The significance? Simply, very often, God’s nature and values and relationships stand apart from our nature and values and relationships. So, if we want to know him fully, we’ll benefit from an awareness of those differences, and a strategy that realizes his ways transcend ours. Keith Miller, author of the class A Taste of New Wine, once said life has two truths: God is real, and you’re not him.
Kick Starting the Application
What is your conception of God? How much is based on him being an expanded human? What aspects of God most puzzle you? Why? What aspects most comfort you? Why? In specific ways, how does your view of him drive your relationship with him?
PS I strongly encourage you to embark upon an education of who God is, according to his Word. Don’t get into the fruitless attempt I did, but focus on how he’s revealed himself to us. Several books can aid this journey, Knowing God by J.I. Packer, and my own, A Passionate Pursuit of God. Both of mine are out of print, but I have some copies if you’d like, as does Amazon.