Is God Personal?
How can we trust that God is personally involved in our lives? Are our seemingly “small” lives significant enough for God to get involved when you consider the vastness of all that goes on in the cosmos. These are common question raised by skeptics and seekers. In Letters from a Skeptic, Greg answers this question in a few ways. Here is one of them:
The whole force of positing a personal Creator to explain our personal characteristics in the first place is derived from the fact that our personal characteristics (our moral convictions, our reason, our love, etc.) could not come about by accident!
Let me get at this by raising a set of different questions. Don’t our imperfect personal characteristics presuppose the existence of a perfect personal being?
For example, don’t our imperfect moral convictions presuppose the existence of a perfect moral standard? How else would we know ours is imperfect? And doesn’t our imperfect reasoning and knowledge presupposed the existence of a perfect “reasoner” and “knower”? If the Creator is not perfectly moral and perfectly knowing, against what is His imperfection measured? I would argue that the Creator, by definition, is the definition of what it is to be perfect. For nothing, by definition, could be above Him.
The gist of all this is that if we imperfect beings are morally outraged at the injustices which exist in our world, must not the creator be infinitely more outraged? If we hurt, out of love and moral conviction, for those whom we know suffer in our world, must not the creator hurt infinitely more? Would he not be less moral, less loving, less knowing than us if this were not the case? But if this were the case, the effect (us) would be greater than the cause (God), and this is impossible.
The enormity of the cosmos, and our smallness in relation to it, would only present a problem for God’s love and care if he were himself one product of it (an effect). But he’s behind the whole thing! His love and care is perfect, hence inexhaustible, and so whatever else he’s got going in the universe (and for all we know he may have a lot!), there’s plenty left over for us “small” human beings.
Thus I find it impossible to suppose that the ground of our personal characteristics (God) doesn’t personally care about us.
The implications of this for our understanding of ourselves is, I think, enormous. It means, that God knows you — perfectly (better than you know yourself). It means that God loves you — perfectly (more than you love yourself). And it means that God cares about your suffering and moral convictions — perfectly (more than you care about them yourself).
It also means that it makes sense to begin inquiring about what relationship our Creator wants with us. What are His purposes for our lives? What does He want with us? What can we know about Him? Has He revealed Himself to us at any point? These questions follow naturally once we understand that God is already personally involved in our lives.
In this clip from this weeks sermon, Greg Boyd comments on how Christians should respond to the events in Ferguson St. Louis and how that response should always be in love and to help heal both sides. The full sermon is here: http://whchurch.org/sermons-media/sermon/heart-smart-qa
Image by matthijs rouw via Flickr The kingdom of God looks and acts like Jesus Christ, like Calvary, like God’s eternal, triune love. It consists of people graciously embracing others and sacrificing themselves in service to others. It consists of people trusting and employing “power under” rather than “power over,” even when they, like Jesus, suffer because…
Helga Weber via Compfight In a world that is all about doom and gloom… In a time when we never seem to have enough… In the midst of messages that tell us that we don’t measure up… In an age when we are more interested in whether or not we can own automatic weapons than…
The traditional confession that Scriptura sacra sui ipsius interpres (“Sacred Scripture is its own interpreter”) presupposes that there is one divine mind behind Scripture, for example. Moreover, Church scholars have traditionally assumed that Scripture’s unity can be discerned in a variety of concepts, motifs, themes and theologies that weave Scripture together. And to speak specifically of the…
*This essay is adapted from G. Boyd & P. Eddy, Lord or Legend? (Baker, 2007). For a fuller discussion, see P. Eddy & G. Boyd, The Jesus Legend (Baker, 2007). There are a number of questions historians ask when they are trying to assess the historical value of an ancient document that claims to report…
Is it possible to force people to love? Powerful people may be able to force others to do just about anything. Through psychological or physical torture, they may succeed in forcing them to curse their own children to deny their faith. They may even succeed in forcing others to act and say loving things to…