Friday, February 12, 2016

Where did the idea of God come from? ............. Parables 392

October 19, 1990

Have you seen the marvelous mouthwash commercial featuring a rooster who takes a swig, swishes it around, gargles, then breaks into song? What a delightful example of our incredible capacity to create. We see more of it everywhere, in art galleries, book stores, advertising, every place human hands have touched.

With this remarkable creative capacity, some conclude the idea of God is another one of our inventions. With that suggestion, some definitions are in order. First, which god is meant?

Some have observed there seems to be a force in the universe that permeates all and holds all things together. Plato and Socrates articulated this vague concept. Some have called it “god”.

Another “god” has been defined as an extension of a universal force that permeates the soul and being of all men, the so-called god-within. By this explanation, Shirley McLean claims there is a “god”, even that she is herself “god”, as do many others who embrace the religion of the New Age.

These are two concepts conceived by creative thinkers who may possibly be trying to understand a Something that they are certain exists. For them, it appears there is a god but the nature of its identity is impersonal and open to interpretation. In other words, “god” is up to human definition.

On the other hand, Christians believe there is a Being called God who created us in His image. Because of that, we have this capacity to create other things. We believe if God is someone man created, then man is god, and God amounts to little more than nothing.

Far from nothing, our understanding of God includes a universal force, that is He is infinite and omnipotent; His power pervades all of the cosmos, but He is more than a force. We know that is true because He did not leave us guessing about His nature; He revealed Himself, an element that makes Him different from man-created gods.

Why would man invent a god like this God? If we are that inventive, why not create something that is tangible, something we can see as well as worship, something that can be proven, and dissected and completely understood in any human language?

Looking at it rationally, how could we invent someone that is all we are not? We create based on what we know, observe and experience with our senses. While we may imagine things we have never seen, like roosters gargling mouthwash, we have seen roosters and we know about gargling mouthwash.

The God of the Bible is all that we are not. He is omnipotent or all-powerful. He says, “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27) There are too many impossibilities in my world to imagine or invent a Being who is thwarted by none of them.

This God is also omnipresent, everywhere at once. The psalmist said, “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?” He is that because He is, as Jesus said, Spirit. We cannot imagine that. We can imagine a ghost roughly shaped like a human being but we cannot envision Someone who occupies all space yet is not any of the things in that space, never mind an omnipresent God who is also personal. He has no head, no feet, yet He loves us. How could we make up something like that?

God is also omniscience, or all-knowing. The psalmist wrote, “O LORD, you have searched me, and you know me. You know when I sit and when rise; you perceive my thought from afar.... You are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue, you know it completely.... Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.”


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