If triangles had a God, He’d have three sides.
— Yiddish proverb
I come now to a milestone — my blogpost #900 — but have absolutely no illusions that anyone out there has been counting down to 900 with me. This is just a small marker in one aspect of my life, and less than insignificant in everyone else’s. Still, it gives me pause to consider this type of thinking and writing that has been important to me for nearly four years now. Before I take a break from blogging for a while, I can think of no better way to cross this milestone than to make this post all about God. . . .
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Job and his friends wandered into the territory of God considerations—and dared to act as though they had Him figured out.
Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm. He said, “Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.” (Job 38: 1)
[ Then God proceeded to provide a detailed description of his uniquely powerful and non-understandable work in creation. ]
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. (Job 42:3b)
I would suggest that we can’t hope to influence others for God . . . nor can we worship God . . . nor can we have a genuine, fulfilling relationship with God . . . if we limit Him by boxing Him in.
J.B. Phillips, in the classic Your God Is Too Small, suggested this:
If people are not strenuously defending an outgrown conception of God, then they are cherishing a [sort of “created”] God who could only exist between (emphasis mine -bc) the pages of the Bible or inside the four walls of a church.
God is immeasurably “bigger” than our forefathers imagined, and modern scientific discovery only confirms their belief that man has not even begun to comprehend the incredibly complex Being who is behind—no, is—what we call “life.”
It’s a given: ||: There is no way to describe God in human terms. :|| (Non-musicians and musicians alike, please don’t miss the repeat signs there!)
We do have the “plural” thing in the Genesis 1:26–“let us make man in our image,” or some reasonable facsimile thereof. (Aside: this God-expression was recently referred to, in my hearing in a small Christian gathering, in the same breath that related the serpent to “Lucifer.” Like many other understandings, the common Lucifer concept results from translation and/or interpretation — and is enlarged by early, probably erroneous Christian history that relates Lucifer to Satan and, ultimately, to the Eden serpent.) That deity is in some sense more than “one” is born out in John 1 and 1st John 1. But what does this really mean? That God is precisely two or three?
I, Brian Casey, am a “singular” thing. But it’s difficult to narrow even me down to a singular thing. (No, I don’t have MPD, although I do sometimes get moody and change personalities.) I have many aspects — and some are fairly difficult to understand. How about God? Is He singular? (“The LORD our God is one.”) Or plural? (“Let Us make man.” “Let Us go down and confuse their language.”) Wouldn’t He be infinitely more difficult to “figure out” in terms of number than a human? Honestly, I’m more interested in the possible literary connection of 1) the “us” in the creation account to 2) the “us” in the Babel account than I am in figuring out whether God is to be considered a trinity. After all, “trinity” is a human word-concept, not used in scripture.
It bothers me when we feel that we have God figured out! It bothers me profoundly — to the point of considering the possibility that it’s blasphemy.
“Could it be that questions tell us more than answers ever do?” queried a favorite songwriter of mine, Michael Card. I think he was onto something.
While I admit that I tend to forget the neat triumvirate of Matthew 28:19 — immersing “in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,” I encourage equal thought about the non-trinitarian presentation in 2 Cor. 3:13-18. Here, the glory of God the Father seems to be connected to the Lord Jesus, and in the final expression, which is difficult to render in English, the Lord Jesus appears to be equated with the Spirit. The Spirit of God is surely to be attended to as we read scripture and as we attempt to live Christianly now, but could it be that the “Spirit” is more of a vain attempt to describe the eminently non-physical Essence or Nature of God? Could it be that the question is more valuable than any purported answer?
Our ponderings, however on- or off-target they may turn out to be, can be highly significant as we seek more insight into the nature and being of God. We do need to take care that we don’t fashion a God that looks like something we came up with—something of our imagination, as in the triangles of Yiddish lore. God is more significant, more holy, more indescribably other than our thoughts about Him can ever comprehend. So be it.
Job 42:5-6: My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”
Aside from a couple of posts already written and scheduled for several days hence, I won’t be actively blogging for a while. I’m going to take a break and will see you in a few weeks.