The Box God: Part II (TCM)
If God is a person as we concluded last week…then that truth needs to impact how we come to know who he is. Some approach the study of God with an almost scientific outlook. They catalogue facts of the biblical text, looking to reveal who God is through the study of the scriptures. For them questions regarding creationism and evolution are pivotal to their ability to take scripture seriously. The seeking of truth is relegated to a scientific notion that allows scientific principles to dictate how we define how God has created and how we should interpret that within the biblical text. God is boiled down to propositional truths of doctrine that make Him and his otherness stark and isolating. What is interesting though is that Christians are not called to understand God…we are not called to the creation or formulation of propositional truths or diagrams of His characteristics and tendencies so that we can best know what to expect of Him and ourselves. This kind of sterile, emotionless, cognitive view of God is more reminiscent of religion than of a vibrant, interactive, and living relationship with a living God. God is not interested in whether we understand him in some cold, cognitive manner.
The Israelites had an understanding of God like this and according to the prophets Isaiah and Amos God was not pleased (Isaiah 1:11; Amos 5:21), if God was interested in us understanding Him in this fashion then he would not have sent His Son. Paul tells us that Christ is, “the image of the invisible God,” (Col. 1:15) and that, “the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,” (Col. 2:9) within the person of Jesus. Since these things are true, does it not make more sense that God is interested in us knowing him relationally rather than propositionally? Now don’t get me wrong, as a theologian, propositional truth has a role to play within our relationship with God, as it does in any relationship…but my relationship with God and my knowing of Him is dictated by my relationship with Him.
If you have boiled God down and confined Him to a set of ideas rather than seeing him as a person…then you do not worship the living God of Scripture. You worship an idol of your own making. This is hard to spot within Christianity because many construct this false idol using the biblical text. Scripture is the authority for Christian living and it is God’s way of communicating who He is to His people, yet when we skew our reading to one of information acquisition and not recognize the heart behind the words…we fail to see the very purpose of the text. It is meant to usher us into relationship with God so that we can know who He is…not so that we can know about Him. Don’t make the same mistake Israel made…get to know Him for who He is, you’ll be glad you did.