Monday, 14 January 2013

The Otherness of God

Everything we do has God’s signature on it. Our lives are so intricately tied with God sometimes this can cause us to think that God needs us, that we can change his mind, and influence his decision making process.

Yet it is in these instances that we need to be reminded that God transcends time. God created the world out of nothing and therefore he needs nothing. God has freely chosen to create and make himself known in the world of his own accord as a gracious gift to us. The question that arises however is whether God wants us to perceive him in this way. Certainly we are to perceive ourselves as his glory, with the central purpose of glorifying him; but if he has chosen to show himself to us in the form of the relation based trinity, does he not want us in a sense to mutually relate to him in the same way? Was this not the point of creating us in his image?

            Despite these questions we know that his making us was not simply an extension of his own being, but was a design of distinct creature particularity to the point where it would be delusional to think we can compare our human understanding of perfection with God’s perfection, or in some way compare his being with our self. Yet we can see his creative and majestic design upon all creation in the way he has diversified us, and ordered us. As humans we can also understand that we have a distinct human purpose separate from the rest of God’s animals, but also not to be abused or over-analyzed as resembling God’s all mighty power.

            Yet we do have a purpose in this world, we do have a nature. This nature is related to a greater truth and goodness beyond ourselves. The understanding of nature has often been abused because we do not look toward the mystery of our nature outside ourselves, but will label our nature for our own purposes. Sometimes this is done by oppressive centralized powers; in our culture today this often happens as an existential oppression of ourselves. However through scripture and the signature of God on our world we can know something about our nature. Certainly we can know more about our nature then God’s transcendent essence.  

            Although creation is the act of all three persons in the Trinity, the human reality of Christ shows us a distinctive personhood in relation to our own being. Thus, since creation is brought into being by the purposeful design of the Trinity and Christ relates to us as divine and human then we can certainly know that redemption is never escape from creation nor is it about creation’s destruction.

            It is this beautiful harmony yet differentiation between God and his creation that allows us to know that his power and our freedom will never compete with one another. We cannot simply use the metaphor of God holding us in his hand, as we represent his hammer. God's reality is simply too different from our reality to relate to him in such a way. Instead we must trust that even though he has all knowledge and power in the universe he chooses to activate us as free creatures.

             The central issue that arises out of our understanding of God’s large scale design and purpose for creation is that there is evil and suffering in this world. If God is only good, and he is the creator of all and king of all, why is there bad? The first thing we must affirm within this line of thinking is that at the end of time evil will not exist, and because we know our nature is related to God's will, then we should not see evil being so much in our nature as it is showing us our deficiency from our original design. While we may turn anger into an impulse of violent evil, anger often originates from a recognition of what is wrong in the world. Thus as sinful beings we are all born deprived of wholeness, but this was not our original design nor is it our final end. 



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