Is there a God or not?
People have asked that question for millennia. Some choose to believe; others deny. Assuming there actually is a God, what difference should that make in how I live my life?
The answer, in a word, is everything!
If an all-seeing, all-wise, all-powerful, personal God truly exists, then everything I do will be—or should be—influenced by that fact. It becomes the central truth in all of life. The converse, however, is also true. If there is no God, then we are free to do as we please, creating our own perspective of what is truth, what is good, and what is evil.
In fact, how can we assume that anything is inherently evil if we have evolved from lower life forms? But if we have been created, the Creator must have had a purpose for creating us. It would seem rational to believe that we have been called to live on a higher level.
That is why I have written the book, God in His Own Image: loving God for who He is not who we would like Him to be.
If you have followed my blogs, you already know my convictions: I believe that God not only exists, but has revealed Himself to us and has a purpose for our existence. The challenge then, is to understand how we should live. To whom shall we give thanks for this wonderful gift called life?
I believe there is an innate hunger in the human heart to know God. Lacking clear revelation about Him, we try to imagine what God (or the gods) would be like. We are small children lying on our backs in the green grass on a warm, summer day with marshmallow clouds floating on a sky-blue ocean imagining what a particular cloud may resemble. “There’s an elephant! Oh, look, a bird over there! See that dog?”
Perhaps you remember playing the cloud game with your children. It was fun, wasn’t it? But one thing was certain: the imaginary dog never wagged his tail or barked. Soon the cloud morphed into something shapeless, and floated off toward the horizon.
Sometimes our imaginary description of a cloud was downright cute. However, playing the cloud game to describe what God may be like is never cute. I call it “Chocolate Factory Theology.”
Just like the lyrics from the song “Pure Imagination” in the movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, attempting to adapt God to fit our cultural desires is simply “pure imagination.” Willy asks, “Do you want to change the world?” The assumption is, just imagine and you can. Trying to create our own more contemporary version of God is both insulting and dangerous. And according to Romans 1:18-32, it’s actually a matter of life and death.
In last week’s blog post I mentioned the television series, God Friended Me. The issue of God’s existence, or lack thereof, was handled fairly well. However, the God in God Friended Me, became more and more culturally acceptable and politically correct in final episodes of the season. To one character God was Allah, to another a Confucian Buddha. Jewish people celebrated their view of the God of the Old Testament at a young girl’s Bat Mitzvah. Then there was the Episcopal priest representing Christianity’s version of God. The not-so-subtle message seemed to affirm that there are many ways to worship and perceive of God, with each being legitimate.
In other words, discover your own truth and you’ll be just fine.
That’s the big lie of the era in which we live.
I wasn’t surprised that a network TV series would suggest this approach. I am very concerned, however, about a similar movement among professing Evangelical Christians. Biblical Christianity is not politically correct. It is not inclusive. It is not tolerant of errors and distortions, and never has been.
The claims of Jesus Christ were and are very exclusive. Jesus claimed that He, and He alone, is the only pathway to God. He hasn’t just discovered truth, He is truth. He doesn’t just know truth, He embodies truth. Truth is Who He is. Jesus also affirmed that to know Him is to know the Father—the one and only true God.
I assume none of us really believe we can create or recreate God. None of us would offer food sacrifices to the more than 25,000 sacred black rats at the Karni Mata Hindu temple in India, would we? But aren’t we doing essentially the same thing in a more subtle manner (stay with me here) by simply ignoring or diminishing some of God’s revealed attributes? Isn’t that what we are doing when we pick our favorite attributes of God, such as love, grace or mercy, and ignore the rest?
Yes, God is love. But God is more than love. He is also holy, just and, yes, even severe. We have been commanded to respect and even fear God, but also to love Him by obeying His commands.
I am convinced that trying to imagine God is not pure imagination; it is impure imagination at its core. Wasn’t that the serpent’s spiel in the garden?
Perhaps you have witnessed examples of this attempt to make God more “safe and gentle” at the expense of His holiness. I am encouraging you to help maintain the fences of truth about who God really is. I suggest a few tools to help understand and defend the truth about God.
First, read the Bible as it was meant to be read: as God’s revelation of Himself. Accept Him as He presents Himself in His Word, in His Own Image.
Read a good theology book by a conservative scholar such as Wayne Grudem to help you understand the terms we use to describe the indescribable God.
Listen to Chris Tomlin’s song, “Indescribable.” (I share a link to the song below.) Meditate on the adjectives Tomlin uses to describe God, words such as incomparable, untamable, undeniable and uncontainable.
All of these words beginning with the prefix “un” tell the story of a God beyond limits, a Father, Creator, Savior, and Counselor far greater and more wonderful than human minds or words can describe.
Finally, I humbly suggest you read the book, God in His Own Image. I have chosen to write to and for the average Christian or church attendee, not the theologian. I have tried to put truth on the lower shelf so anybody can understand. I would be pleased if the book can provide just a little more light to help point readers in the right direction.
As I write this morning, I just received word that the first copies of the book have been shipped to our home. We can hardly wait for the FedEx package to be delivered to our front porch.
Meanwhile, the book will be officially released for sale on May 6th. Why not pre-order, so you can start the journey of discovering more about our Great God?
You can pre-order the book at these addresses: Christianbook.com ($10.95); Amazon.com ($11.12); barnesandnoble.com ($11.12). Check your local bookstores as well.
Thank you for your support.
Enjoy Chris Tomlin’s praise of our indescribable God by clicking below: