Sunday, December 1, 2013

We Make God In Our Own Image

It has been said that we are made in the image of God.  This may be objectively true, but it is not true subjectively.  The truth is that we make God in our own image.  If we are fearful, hateful, ignorant, obsessed with control, and filled with anger, then our image of God will have those qualities.  If we are filled with love, kindness, generosity and compassion, then our God will look like that.

Our notion of God has nothing to do with any real qualities God may possess.  God's qualities are quite apart from our imaginative projections.  The danger comes in when people create a golden calf like version of God and then use it to bludgeon others. 

God cannot do whatever He wants and still remain a being worthy of worship.  If God really does commit atrocities, he doesn't get a pass just because he has the power to condemn someone to hell.  Right is right and wrong is wrong.  If God does evil, he is no longer the ultimate being worthy of worship.  As such, God doing evil is a logical impossibility.  For the same reason, it is absurd to imagine God acting like a spiteful dickhead as described in many of the Old Testament stories. 

If you worship God because you fear hell, then you are only acting out of selfish interest.  True principals are not conditioned upon one using strength and intimidation to control another.  The truly righteous man would thus have no choice but to give God the middle finger and happily depart to hell.  For these reasons, I reject the image of God described as an almighty tyrant, demanding supplication and using fear to control people.  If God is not one of love, compassion, and persuasion instead of coercion, I have no use for Him and gladly open my arms to eternal hellfire.

Thankfully we see an image of God best represented in the life and death of Jesus Christ.  Jesus brought a fuller picture of God, one who suffers for us and who offers himself in sacrifice for others.  He was one of healing and compassion for the most sick and vulnerable.  Jesus made demands that were principled and required much.  Jesus shows us an image of God worthy of worship, one who goes beyond what humanity ordinarily offers.  It moves beyond our feeble projections to show an image of God that really matters.

True love drives out fear. 

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