Let me ask you perhaps the most important question of your life. Well, if I am going do such a thing I better give you time to actually read what I am going to write instead of just glancing at it. Too many times, in our time starved days, we never slow down long enough to really read and think about what we just read. We are so used to hearing in "sound bites"; we end up reading in "sight bites".
The question I pose is very simple, but extremely important. How do you picture God? That is it. That is the most important question I could think to ask anyone who claims to know God.
Most of us develop a picture in our mind (based on ancient art) at an early age of God being a very old man with a long white beard. For many of us, our first impression of God was that of a grumpy old man who enjoyed throwing lightning bolts at people who did things wrong and could never be pleased. I vividly recall comparing my version of God to my grandmother who was, to be polite, a mean person.
Of course the obvious problem which arises with this concept of God is that it makes it nigh unto impossible to honestly believe that God is love. A mean God does not translate into a loving God in our minds. A mean God is only interested in justice and thus kills the bad people and withholds His favor from anyone who sins. A mean God only takes pleasure in purity and thus those who picture God this way are usually ultra religious and extremely conservative in dress and mannerisms.
There is no greater torture in this life than to live thinking every time you sin, the consequences will be fast and brutal. Far too many Christians live with the fear of punishment and thus look and live like someone always looking over their shoulder anticipating a huge 2x4 to smack them on the head. Living life with the threat of immediate punishment breeds the kind of religion practiced by the Puritans.
On the other side of the coin, many younger people today now picture God as a cool looking dude with long hair, some tattoos and a maybe some dope in his pocket. This relaxed view of God has come from the constant preaching that Jesus was God in the flesh and so to picture God, just think of Jesus. Since all the pictures of Jesus are of a white guy with long flowing hair in a robe, thus this becomes many people's picture of God.
About all I can say is that if this is our God, we are in a lot of trouble in this universe. If God is a man, than He can do no bigger or better things than any man can do. If God is a man, then He is subject to the full range of things men do, such as lie, cheat, kill etc. GOD IS NOT A MAN. Now, that may shock many people, but it is the truth. I can hear some saying now, "what is this heretic saying?" I am no heretic and all I am saying is that GOD IS NOT A MAN.
Every time I hear someone teach or preach and use the term "God man" I cringe. I do not believe this is the way we should picture God. GOD IS NOT A MAN. The minute we try to make God a man is the minute we diminish who He really is and try to bring Him down to our level. The resulting consequence is that God becomes a "dude" instead of who He really is.
When God first appeared to Moses, He did so as a voice speaking from a burning bush. GOD IS NOT A BURNING BUSH. When God spoke to the children of Israel He did so from the cloud. GOD IS NOT A CLOUD. When He revealed Himself to this world in order to redeem it, he took on the form of a servant and was made in the likeness of a man. GOD IS NOT A MAN.
Man always wants to turn God into a tangible thing which he can see and handle with his hands. That is why he is always making idols of stone, wood or clay. He wants to be able to see his god. Man doesn't like the idea of needing faith in a God he cannot see. He wants the security of a god he can control.
GOD IS NOT A DUDE. GOD IS NOT "MY BOYFRIEND". GOD IS NOT AN OLD MAN WITH A WHITE BEARD. GOD IS NOT A MAN. Somehow, if we want to be able to truly know, understand and walk with God; we must drive from our minds the idea He is a man and the limitations that come with such thinking. When we pray; in order to fully tap into the power of God, we must believe we are not simply praying to a man. When we trust; we must believe we are entrusting our life, our family and our resources to GOD and not a man.
Yes, the most important question I know to ask anyone is what their picture of God really is. And I pray anyone and everyone who wants to know, love and walk with God comes to the point where they believe that GOD IS NOT A MAN, but rather that He IS spirit and as such, He is closer to us than our very breath. God IS who HE IS and it behooves us to learn of that God and get to know that God through His Word which He has given us for that reason.
When Jesus appeared to the eleven decipile after he was resurrected from the dead, he said to Thomas put you fingers in the holes in my hands and inpect my side and see that it is me. In Ezequiel, there's a passage of some like the 'son of man' with bronzed feet, a golden vest and eyes with if flaming fire...I'm led to believe that Jesus, God does have a figure, the same one he lived with when he was a man. But the new glorified body is spirit and can not be hiddered by physical obstacles as distance or doors. But he can eat fish and has entrials to do that.
I suppose we can take this at face values and what the word of God reaveals as far as I know. Perhaps it reveals more. Amen.
Far too often we mentally place God in this box we've created and we view him as one of us with a lot more power. If you take a look at myths about gods and goddesses you really see evidence of this. Aside from having special powers and being immortal (in many cases), negative human emotions such as anger, envy, hate and lust are magnified a hundred-fold!
[bible]John 4:24[/bible] We must seek to know God for who he really is and we must never forget who he really is! He definitely is not us. Thank goodness for that!
Great post. B2Y. We [i]absolutely must remember[/i] that God is NOT A MAN. He is a Spirit and more. We cannot as finite beings wrap our minds around the wonder of a self existent omnipotent being, that is [i]deeply, passionately in love[/i]with us. Such a thing is too wonderful for me, and I'm glad that God is deeply passionately in love with me and you too.