Sunday, April 19, 2015

My View of God and Truth

I'm sure I will not do justice to the impulse beyond this post. But if there are curiosities to my views of God and Truth, they reduce in my mind to this. God is bigger than we could possibly imagine and the Truth, that is his thoughts, is beyond human comprehension.

I respect those who believe in open theism (the idea that God limits his understanding so that we can have free will). If I were to listen to them, I'm sure that I might respect process theologians (who believe that God actually is not all-powerful but is evolving with the universe).

1. But I have no interest in a God who is not all powerful and all knowing. Such a god is not actually God. Such a god is rather a god like the Greeks and Romans, only with Christian values. I am interested in a God who knows every single last thing and who can do anything.

I have a slightly heterodox inkling that even God's "nature" as we know it is a matter of his will, that good is good because God says so. My inkling here (I would not call it a "view," since it is more of an intuition) is that to say God has a nature that he did not determine is again to limit him to being little more than what we are.

But if God decided to be loving, then it means something. It is a matter of his free will. To say otherwise, it seems to me, is to make him a slave to some higher authority that made him that way.

Once again, if my intuition here seems off track, I have it because I want God to be GOD and not just some mere anthropomorphic projection of humanity.

2. The same goes for Truth. I do not think it is unorthodox to say that the Bible reflects God meeting his people within their own understandings. Certainly this perspective gels with my own expertise in biblical studies. The words of the Bible almost always make thorough sense within their original historical and cultural contexts.

But hear the implication here. If God revealed the truths of the Bible in the categories of its audiences, then Truth is something much, much bigger than these divine, incarnated moments. To limit truth, therefore, to these words is to reduce God--at least to some extent--to the paradigms and worldviews he used to communicate to people millennia ago.

I am of course also limited to a worldview that is influenced by my own time and place in history. So do not think I am saying that we, finally, today, have arrived and can see Truth on its own objective terms. No, I am saying that God's Truth is on a completely different playing field, one that none of us will ever play on.

Revelation, insofar as it refers to cognitive thoughts, will always be just a shadow of God's infinity. There is a striking concept in a recent movie called Automata. It talks about how, when they let the robots fix and teach themselves, they started to become smarter exponentially. After an hour or so, they started saying things that no one could understand, they had become so smart.

And so I ask myself, how ridiculous it is for us all in the church today to think we basically have God figured out. How completely stupid we must be making ourselves look! The things we say in our Bible studies, in our sermons, in our classrooms, in our devotions--surely it is all the goo-goo ga-ga of babies.

3. So if I ever say something you think is peculiar, know this. I believe God is greater than anything we can imagine and the Thoughts of his mind are greater than any human language could possibly contain. I believe God is GOD, not the god an ant might imagine.


Pastor Mark Haines said...

I'm in total agreement for what that's worth.

Dwayne Brothers said...

Ken - I did not see this earlier post before I commented on the one after it. Again, I think you might be surprised at what some forms of open theism really is trying to do, because I don't think you have captured their thoughts.

Anyway, I read your blog regularly and love what you do. Maybe someday we can talk more fully in person and drink a pot of coffee as we talk... :)

Martin LaBar said...

"I believe God is greater than anything we can imagine and the Thoughts of his mind are greater than any human language could possibly contain. I believe God is GOD, not the god an ant might imagine."