Saturday, March 7, 2015

In His Image

On the last day of creation, God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness” 
(Genesis 1:26) 

This is an interesting thought that I've been pondering lately.  It seems one of those gray areas where almost everyone draws the line on a different beach.  Most of us would agree that God (the Father) doesn't have a belly-button, and probably not even a beard.  It's not a physical thing.  

The idea that our conscience (sense of right and wrong) makes us God-like is hard to reconcile with the inconvenient fact that God promoted genocide in the old-testament stories of the Israelites taking over the 'promised land.'  To me, that's harder to digest than the notorious 'problem of evil'  or the fact that He often seems to take a hands-off approach to a lot of human suffering today.  It's the idea of The creator of all mankind promoting rather than just allowing brutal atrocities that's hard not to perceive as cruel and unjust.  After all, which Canaanites had a choice in being born into their respective families?  

Then again, Man makes war too, and we definitely play favorites with allies and enemies . . . in His image?  The most common justification of God's favoritism that I've heard is simply the fact that He's God (AKA, 'His ways are higher than ours.')  Whatever He does is right.  We just don't understand.  It's just and good (or sinful and bad) for the simple reason that He willed it to happen (or forbids it) and can do no wrong.  Fundamentalists must play dumb (the 'His ways are higher' card) or simply accept a double-standard.

It seems to me that if anything God does is good simply because He is who He is, then God Himself wouldn't have any use for a compassionate conscience, at least not in the same sense or context that most non-psychopathic humans do. The justification of God's alleged old-testament directives doesn't seem to correlate well with the guilt-ridden human conscience or the grace of the Gospel.  Many believe that the human conscience is the 'voice' of the Holy Spirit prompting us, but unless it operates completely independently of the God of the Old Testament,  who has supposedly been the same 'yesterday, today, and forever,' that's hard to reconcile.

When I, with my limited capacities, try to imagine what it would be like to be God-  omnipresent, sovereign, and omnipotent, I think I would be downright suicidal.  From a human standpoint it's impossible for me to imagine a fulfilling existence if I already knew everything, experienced everywhere, and had nothing to strive for, compete with, learn, conquer, or achieve.

For a while, I couldn't think of a reason why being God wouldn't be synonymous with condemnation-  nothing competes with the notion of a hell containing literal flames (where you'd have physical nerve-endings that don't actually burn up and stop working) like the thought of perpetual boredom 'to infinity and beyond.'  God's most fulfilling years seemingly would have been his brief stint as Jesus, where within the mortal perimeters of flesh and space-time He could love tangibly, strive for change, and experience the spectrum of pain from hunger to loneliness that make the inverse so gratifying!

After grinding my gears for a while, I was able to come up with two traits that I believe that we finite creatures might share with an infinite deity:


It's hard to imagine a more effective mean of fulfillment for an omnipotent and omnipresent being than the creative process.  Our precise knowledge of the universe (what we've photographed and documented with the likes of the Hubble space telescope) beyond our solar system and galaxy is ridiculously minute in relation to its theoretical extent.  Not to mention a potential multiverse.   

No one knows the limits of creation, but most of us can relate to the joy of creating.  This, I see as one definitive commonality between a creator and the created.  With as much simple joy as I experience brewing beer, roasting coffee, cooking, doodling during meetings, and writing poetry that only my mother appreciates, this seems undeniable.

(Note: discovery is right up there with creativity for mortals, but this wouldn't apply to an omnipotent/omnipresent God who has nothing left to learn.  Our limited capacities might be more of a blessing than a burden!)

The need for affirmation

It's hard to imagine a God as humble as Jesus being narcissistic enough to create human beings, angels, and the multi-winged/multi-eyed beasts described in Revelation for the sole purpose of padding his ego with perpetual glory, honor, and praise.  Why doesn't He get with the program and sign up for a Facebook page?  I don't think that a single human being could honestly say that they could live a meaningful life without the perceived acceptance, love, and affirmation of others.  This is one attribute that I am sure we share with God.  If no one believes in us, we are nothing. . . or might as well be.  At times even the idea of a relational God who loves us unconditionally and listens to our prayers is an adequate substitute for the support of other people, and much more dependable.  At points in life, it's all some people have to avert despair.

Thursday, January 15, 2015


Desire is not the unsatisfied craving of it's own absence, but for experiencing the process of killing itself.  When fully dead, it is instantaneously replaced by another desire, or despair.