Christianity: The belief that a cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree.
No, I didn't write that. Someone else did. I have read it several times. The words themselves, the word choices are fairly accurate, with the exception of the word "Zombie." Still, three things are missing, well, more like dismissed in this quote. (in addition to the most obvious fact that the writer is not a believer). I will touch on two today, the third one tomorrow.
Edward Said, a literary critic, culled the term the "Other" - people who seem to foreign in some truth that we consider them alien to us. The statement above is evidence of someone ignoring the magnitude of who God is and then trying to cram Him, "the Other," into a human viewpoint. God does not fit into our box, people. God transcends all that we know on this earth, so we cannot use our simple words to pare down who He really is. To insist on full understanding is nothing but futility.
Jan Winebrenner in, "The Grace of Catastrophe" explains this well when she writes, "God is infinite, and our finite minds cannot grasp all that He is, all that He wants to be to us, all that He is doing, and all the He wants to do for us. We are incapable of fully plumbing the depths of God, His character, His plans, His goals; nor can we completely comprehend the strength of His love, the passion of His pursuit of us, the length to which He will go to make Himself known to us."
God, in His own voice, explains this to us in scripture:
My thoughts are not your thoughts.
nor are your ways My ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are My ways higher than your ways
and My thoughts than your thoughts.
Yet, how often do we try to understand life through our own lenses and not through His word? We simplify Him. We water down His power, dilute His strength, weaken His word. We interpret His motives and His actions to fit our lives. It makes it easier to justify our own actions, our choices, and the events happenings around us because we think we have the power to fully understand Him. It is tempting, almost irresistible to judge and make assumptions about circumstances, causes, and consequences.
In 2004 an earthquake hit the Indian Ocean. The force unleashed was estimated to have released the energy of 23,000 Hiroshima-type atomic bombs, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The resulting tsunami killed over 150,000 and left millions homeless. It pained me to hear believers interpret this event as the wrath of God on an ignorantly-perceived God-less society. It amazed me they had the audacity to claim to know the purpose behind such a catastrophe. The lack of humility that came with such a statement overwhelmed me. The focus had shifted off of their desperate need for God and into a position of false enlightenment.
The other component missing from that statement is love which is inseparable from God. He cannot be anything but full of love because that is fully His nature. A love we cannot fully experience on earth. The well-quoted scripture, "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son..." (John 3:16) And again in 1 John 4:10, "This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins."
Our Enemy loves for us to "create and imagine" our God. Winebrenner says again, "We forget the truth about him, about His character, about the nature of His love for us and the "kind intention of His will" Ephesians 1:5." We consistently fail to grasp that God's love is "totally other." It operates solely from Him, unique to Him and not on our timetable, our plans or our circumstances.
I don't presume to know what the writer's life is like. I do know that that our Enemy does not want us to believe that God loves us. He goes to great lengths to prevent us from experiencing it, from believing in it. I see it in my own life every day. It comes in whispers in my ear, challenging what I know is true in God's word and about His character.
Are you resolved today to listen to His voice through His word and to feel His love that without fail tries to hold you?
I'll end with this quote from Larry Crabb, "There's more to knowing God than we dare imagine. It's time to put aside our cynicism and come to God, waiting consciously and deliberately, and with discipline for the Spirit to delight our souls with the rich fare of God."