Two-fer Tuesday: Imagining God by Deacon Blue

michelangelo-creation-adamI like to use metaphors and analogy a lot when I try to frame God’s actions and the teachings of the Bible. The reason is pretty simple: God is a complex guy.

Now, many of you might tell me that’s the understatement of the ages, but I really think God’s complexity is lost on a lot of people, whether Christian or not.

So, when I use an analogy to compare God’s actions to those of a parent, it’s a good example in one sense, because God is our Father, and Jesus reinforced that that not only was He our father, but even more intimately, our daddy (hence his use of the term Abba in reference to God at various times). On the other hand, it’s a simplistic example, because it isn’t simply a parental role He plays.

God’s relationship to us is also that of Lord and subject. Creator and created. Judge and defendant. And so many others.

You could view this post as a follow-up to my The Eternal Question post yesterday, I suppose, because once again, I’m about to delve into the eternal nature of God and how that affects everything. Because the fact is that God is all-powerful and eternal. To try to pin Him down to one kind of role is impossible. To psychoanalyze Him is pure folly. To expect Him to behave as we expect people around us to behave is ridiculous.

We can intellectually examine various aspects of God. We can accept on faith many of God’s seemingly contradictory character traits. But we are never going to understand Him as long as we are trapped by our human perceptions and preconceptions. Our minds and our senses are not equipped to fully grasp an eternal being with ultimate power.

Fact is, not only is God infinite in His abilities, he is infinitely complex.


4 Responses to “Two-fer Tuesday: Imagining God by Deacon Blue”

  1. November 25, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    Phillip Yancey was accused of psychoanalyzing God in his book Disappointment with God, though He denies it. I don’t know if psychoanalyzing God is folly as long as our expectations of comprehension are relatively low. I believe God wishes us to seek a type of intimacy with him, and you need to try to understand the people you are close to. A lot of the prophets seaem to have God give voice to his feelings, and often they are easy to relate to. I agree analogies are to simplistic to give us a complete picture, but they are useful. The omnipotence card is overplayed when attempting to Pick out God’s actions and motives. There is an enormous amount of divine abdication, as God lets the Drama of Creation play out.

  2. 2 Deacon Blue
    November 25, 2008 at 5:46 pm

    Oh, I fully agree that the exercises are useful in helping us relate to God and put some of His actions into context. But I think when people fret that “I couldn’t follow a God that would do THAT” and try to hold Him to human standards or assign psychological disorders to him, that just doesn’t work. We need analogies to grasp Him, and because we are in His image we share things like love and mercy with God, but at the same time, the big man upstairs is a pretty complex piece of work, and those who try to pin Him down need to step back and save themselves some trouble IMO.

  3. November 26, 2008 at 3:02 am

    God desires companions and companionship. He wants to hang out with friends, and establish friendships.


  4. 4 Deacon Blue
    November 26, 2008 at 12:17 pm

    Well, love not only makes the world go ’round, but the universe as well.

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Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

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