‘Theology Proper’

Did God command Israel to “dash the heads of babies on the rocks”?

October 18th, 2014

In a conversation recently, someone brought up Psalm 137:9.

Psalm 137:9 (NKJV)

9 Happy the one who takes and dashes

Your little ones against the rock!

This verse does indeed create a disturbing visual. See More »

The Context of God

March 16th, 2010

The Hope

Click on the picture to the left and watch the first 7 minutes or so of the video (if you’re in a hurry, skip ahead to chapter one “In the Beginning” and watch for just a minute or two).

My favorite spot is shortly after chapter one begins where it shows the universe exploding into existence upon God’s command!

Pretty amazing, huh?

But, have you ever wonder where God came from? Let’s look at what the Bible tells us:

God was there in the beginning

“In the beginning was the Word…and the Word was God” (John 1:1)

In fact, God was the beginning

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” (Revelation 22:13)

And He was before the beginning, no god existed before him.

“Before me there was no God was formed, nor shall there be any after me” (Isaiah 43:10)

“I am the first and the last, besides me there is no god” (Isaiah 44:6)

How do we wrap our minds around this? Of course, it is impossible to truly comprehend, God is spirit, but we are spirit and body. Our entire human existence has been in the context of physical matter, space, dimension, time, and limits, where things have beginnings and ends. So, to imagine or understand something beyond those parameters is inherently difficult.

Some try to explain this by describing a fictitious man who lives in Flatland. This is helpful indeed but it’s still difficult to understand where the sphere came from. What was its beginning? Who or what created it?

When thinking of God, sure, I can imagine my eyes being opened to another dimension and suddenly understanding more clearly the nature of God. But it’s still hard for me to imagine somehow understanding the origin of God.

There is something I believe we do without even knowing we do it, which makes this topic so difficult. We assume a context outside of God. We imagine a space in which God exists. A timeline into which He began. A measure of power against which His power is measured. Our difficulty in understanding a limitless God is that we assume there must be something beyond Him which defines those limits. We imagine a limitless God as being HUGE or an eternal God as being really OLD, but can’t truly comprehend words like “limitless” or “eternal” because words like “huge” and “old” imply a context. Those words are always pictured from a point of view outside the thing being measured.

So, when we attempt to “size God up”, we do our best to picture the biggest, most powerful being ever. It goes something like this: imagine all the power in the whole universe, then imagine someone more powerful than that, that’s God. The problem with that is that we imagine Him as if He is an envelope around all that power. The problem is that envelopes still have limits. Our mental picture is still take from outside, and hence from a vantage point beyond God. We don’t even recognize our arrogance in assuming that perspective!

How can we get back to the proper vantage point? We have to understand that there is NO “IS” beyond God. There is no vantage point beyond God. No power exists beyond God’s. We only struggle with this because we envision the empty space after “beyond”. Do you see how that puts God into a context? But the context isn’t there. God IS the context.

In fact, to even say that God has power is a bit misleading. God is power (1 Tim 6:15).

To say that God has love implies a source of love outside of God. The Bible says “God IS love”. (1 John 4:8)

God IS light (1 John 1:5), truth, and life (John 14:6).

God does not have a beginning, He IS the beginning (Revelation 22:13).

The key to our understanding of God is to worship Him for who He really is. He IS the context. Everything we know and can measure came from His essence, His character, His nature. It is a truly terrifying adjustment of perspective to meditate on this. To imagine that the thing we call “power” is something that came from God, that He himself IS the context for “power”. It isn’t something he just has a whole bunch of, HE IS!!!

It’s interesting when Moses asked God what he should say to Pharoah when Pharoah asked Moses who sent him. The answer: “tell him ‘I AM’ sent you.”

And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.'”

Let’s hear your thoughts and questions on this! Leave a comment below.

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