Putting A God On Trial

godstrial

 

By a show of hands, how many of you have ever used an on-line dating service?

I tried it a few times, and it really, really did not work for me. I would read a man’s profile, sift through his pictures, and check OSCN to make sure he wasn’t a serial killer released by the latest clerical error. I’d exchange a few emails with him, trying to get a sense of his personality. If he passed through that process, I would agree to meet.

Without exception, the men never even approached the image I would have begun to form of them in my head. In most cases, there had been no explicit lies or deceitfulness on their part. I just had formed a different image based 50% on how they had described themselves and 50% on what I wanted them to be like. The first fifteen minutes of any of those dates would involve me wrestling my ill-conceived expectations down to the floor and forcing myself to keep an open mind.

We have imaginations, and anything that is described to us, whether it be a person, place or thing, onlinebegins to be constructed in our minds. We get a mental sense of something based on what our brains have seen or experienced in our pasts. Invariably, when we finally do actually see what we have been imagining, we find we didn’t have a clear picture.

I have not met God in person. I use a book to try to form a sense of who He is, along with what I perceive are His fingerprints on my life. And because He is not a normal human being in the sense that the rest of us are, I have even less of a real idea of how He could be.

It is my belief that a lot of people assume that God is just like the rest of us, and it is in this we all run into some pretty big problems. God is not motivated to do things based on the same motivations we have. In fact, it is often hard to defend to unbelievers some of what He has done just in the Bible alone.

I am a loyal person to those I love, and at the beginning of my walk with God, I felt a need to explain away things that He did. I used to do this for my kids, my spouse, my parents, siblings, friends…It just was a natural instinct I had. Quickly, I learned that some of the world’s questions about God, though, could not be explained away using human logic. Humans base their assumptions of problems and solutions through a common acceptance that things are generally universal. Babies dying is universally bad. Cold-blooded murder is universally bad. Happiness is universally good.

atheistGod cannot be interpreted correctly through our fleshly lenses. Most of us have never physically met a god before, and the ones who think they have, take lithium and live with other “special” people.

Simply put, God is not a human being, and He is not motivated by the same things we are. This common assumption by most people is the very reason so many people stumble over so much of what He has done.

I found myself stumped when I would be presented with questions by people about God’s seemingly cold behaviors. I could not present acceptable human motivations to explain why He would let babies die, or instruct His armies to destroy entire races of people along with their innocent livestock, even to myself. I had to do the same thing for God that I had to do with those men I had met from on-line dating sites. I had to return back to the beginning and start all over again understanding who they were.

Square one for me was Who (or What) is God?

The answer solved all of my problems with His choices. God is not a human. He is not motivated by lampeven the most basic things we humans are, and because we have no point of reference to understand what makes Him tick, we have no real idea why He does things that we think we’d never do. When He wipes out all the first-born children, we go to our Mind-Files and sift through all the possible motivations that a human being would have to cause this, pull the one out that seems right, and then judge Him accordingly.

The truth of our existence is that we only have vague shadowy ideas about a spiritual dimension we have not actually experienced yet. Some of us have faith that we have a grasp on the Being we serve, but it is foolishness to me to not allow for some mistakes in our interpretations. I can’t really imagine what this must look like:

11 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. 13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in[a] blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. 14 And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. 15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.

I imagine I probably have it completely wrong. Does this make it inherently wrong then? Or is my limited human filter just ill-equipped to form a reasonably correct idea?

simsI stopped trying to defend God using human motivations a long time ago because I am ill-equipped. Like you, I too, have never seen God in the flesh, and my limited knowledge renders me unable to do so. Instead, I accept that God exists by a different, unknowable set of motivations and priorities. My faith is that even though I may not understand His reasons for doing something, He does, and they are good ones for Him. It simply does not matter if we agree or disagree with them…we are the pots, He is the potter.

“all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing,
and he does according to his will among the host of heaven
and among the inhabitants of the earth;
and none can stay his hand
or say to him, “What have you done?” (Daniel 4:35 ESV)

I run into a lot of assumptions by people who seem to forget God is a god, not a human. The probability that God will ever feel inclined to feel ashamed in front of His accusers is non-existent. Often I get the feeling that there are people who seem to think that God owes them an explanation for Himself, especially among unbelievers. 

That is never going to happen. God can not be put on trial and punished by any of us. The idea is patently absurd, and yet I find it a common theme among those who resist Him.

I found a real peace about God when I came to understand my own limitations concerning Him. My faith comes into play in that I can believe that He means only good for me, and not harm. Armed with that assurance, I often find myself looking towards the future for explanations or understandings. 

It is okay to admit that we Christians do not know much more about God than the heathens do. We Definition Of Atheismspend our entire lives learning, but I imagine, we will be surprised how much we got wrong. That’s okay too. We answer to God, and not anyone else. Remember, none of us come across intelligent when we try to be the defining authority on a subject we do not fully understand.

We humans seem to be inherently arrogant about our place in creation, but God is pretty clear about His place in all of this, and it isn’t about making us like Him. We aren’t a bunch of high schoolers hoping to eat at the cool kids’ table. This wasn’t all put in place because He couldn’t make friends.

He made some of us as vessels of wrath, and while that seems patently unfair in all of our books, it is not in His. 

Note:

10. ….When he married Rebekah, she gave birth to twins.f 11But before they were born, before they had done anything good or bad, she received a message from God. (This message shows that God chooses people according to his own purposes; 12he calls people, but not according to their good or bad works.) She was told, “Your older son will serve your younger son.”g 13In the words of the Scriptures, “I loved Jacob, but I rejected Esau.”h

14Are we saying, then, that God was unfair? Of course not! 15For God said to Moses,

“I will show mercy to anyone I choose,

and I will show compassion to anyone I choose.”i

16So it is God who decides to show mercy. We can neither choose it nor work for it.

17For the Scriptures say that God told Pharaoh, “I have appointed you for the very purpose of displaying my power in you and to spread my fame throughout the earth.”j 18So you see, God chooses to show mercy to some, and he chooses to harden the hearts of others so they refuse to listen.

19Well then, you might say, “Why does God blame people for not responding? Haven’t they simply done what he makes them do?”

20No, don’t say that. Who are you, a mere human being, to argue with God? Should the thing that was created say to the one who created it, “Why have you made me like this?” 21When a potter makes jars out of clay, doesn’t he have a right to use the same lump of clay to make one jar for decoration and another to throw garbage into? 22In the same way, even though God has the right to show his anger and his power, he is very patient with those on whom his anger falls, who are destined for destruction. 23He does this to make the riches of his glory shine even brighter on those to whom he shows mercy, who were prepared in advance for glory. 24And we are among those whom he selected, both from the Jews and from the Gentiles.

It is probably wise to take a look at the lens you are using for life in general, and God specifically. Expectations that He should act in a certain way based on human motivations is always going end up with you being disappointed and probably disillusioned.

You can trust that God has His reasons, and is best able to determine what should or should not be done. We do not have to give anyone our guesses at what His motivations were for things others find unacceptable. If they need Him to explain, best let Him do it.

God will never again be put on trial….. And even if He was, we probably wouldn’t be picked for that jury.

Have a great day!

~ Bird

10 thoughts on “Putting A God On Trial

  1. Great post. We surely can’t completely understand God. It doesn’t mean we don’t stop trying, but I like the way you are humble enough to admit you might have it completely wrong! I’m sure I also have lots wrong, but that doesn’t mean I stop trying to understand, or live out what I think I understand.

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  2. So many things that non-believers or atheists say…He is such a vindictive God… and you’re right there’s no way we can defend His actions nor should we try I guess…as He is God.. It’s hard sometimes though that the Bible says He is love etc when there is so much written that seems harsh by a humans’ perspective… Diane

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  3. It sounds like you’ve found a way to explain away the atrocities found in the bible. I think that’s part of the reason religion is so dangerous. It allows us to rationalize away things like genocide and rape – things found throughout the bible.

    I also wanted to point out your well used atheist meme is incorrect. It’s an atheist stereotype. Atheists don’t have to believe any of the things mentioned in your meme. Atheism is merely a lack of belief in god(s). I hope you have the opportunity to interact more with atheists so that you can have a meaningful conversation with them, instead of perpetuating stereotypes.

    Thanks for the read. I wish you luck on your journey.

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    • My best friend from childhood was an atheist for quite some time. I have many friends who claim to be atheists, plus some family. I know quite well their viewpoints and why they feel the way they do. It changes nothing that I have said.

      I find it almost universal the complicated and convoluted arguments I hear from atheists who protest me believing in something they don’t believe in. My answer to that is, what I believe is my business, and too bad for you if you don’t like it. I do not proclaim to have proof of things that are by the very definition, things with no evidence…faith-based. Nor do I have a burning desire to sway people who are so adamant in their hatred for my religion over to my way of thinking. I don’t need other people to approve of my opinions in order to validate them. That doesn’t seem to be true for so many atheists I hear from these days.

      Only in this particular argument would anyone bother to let people rudely question their intellect, boldly twist words into things that simply were never said, assign guilt for atrocities that were a combination of things, not only religious fervor, and then act hurt when a Christian finally loses their temper and tells an atheist to mind their own businesses, or refuses to change their minds based on a bunch of random “scientific” proof no one even cares about.

      Here’s a news flash. The real atheists I know don’t troll through religious discussions, and they don’t seem to feel they were endowed with the right to bash other people with differing opinions to pieces for not agreeing with them. The ones who do this rude behavior are ones I instantly reject anything they have to say, because they obviously cannot have someone disagreeing with them, and that kind of arrogance is just too worthless to bother with.

      Believe or don’t believe. I don’t apologize to people who don’t believe in my God for my God. He can handle His business just fine without me, and He repeatedly has announced, He finds these people fools. But, since they don’t believe He even exists, this shouldn’t bother them. Amazingly enough, though, it really seems to bother them a lot.

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      • You’re describing Richard Dawkins perfectly there! I can have discussions with most of my former colleagues, but Dawkins is an obnoxious twat who’d make anyone believe in God JUST to shut him up, lol!

        He seems bent on belittling the entire camp of the billions of humans who aren’t intelligent enough to accept that HE has disproven God!

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  4. One of your best blogs, Bird!

    Just as we cannot fully understand God, we should never expect an unbeliever to grasp this either!
    And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. – Hebrews 11:6

    And atheists will just say that’s a perfect get-out clause. I know, I used to be one.

    It’s not long – I would’ve descended into a treatise on Calvinism!

    My overriding memory of that time I heard God’s voice, my moment of surrender before I came back from death’s brink, was not how much he said to me, but how little. Just five words – all I needed to hear. He is magnificent.

    I’m reblogging this.

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