It’s been said that on the seventh day, man created God, or something to that effect. I’ve seen posts on Facebook where people were talking about God’s that fit their preferences. While driving to work I had this thought, ‘does your god(s) reflect you, or do you reflect your god(s)?
How do you determine that?
- Imagine a deity that matches your expectations. What would you want from it?
I spent hours in thought on what I would want from ‘god’. For starters, he would be one, no pantheon like the Greeks. All-powerful, all-knowing, and all-present, along with being a teacher. Admittedly, I would like there to be a double standard for me, but if you’re a really bad person…KAPOW…lightning bolt. The sick would be healed as soon as they were prayed for. If you were good then you go to heaven. If not, then annihilation of the soul, no Hell.
- How well does your ‘god’ compare to what you actually worship?
That answers the question from the first paragraph. I sat and did a comparison. Of the seven things I wanted, only two were present in God.
God is three-in-one, three personalities of the same essence, where mine is just one personality. Both have the all-everything traits, and God is a teacher, plus more. I don’t get a free pass on the virtue of being me, either I’m facing condemnation or Christ is in my place.
Sometimes that healing I wanted him to do means you go to Heaven in the presence of God. He’s more like a Judge and Warden rather than the executioner I came up with. Fortunately for us all, salvation is faith-based by trusting in Jesus. How cruel would it be to run on a hamster wheel on the road to heaven, not realizing you’ll never get there?
- How well does your ‘ideal god’ fit into reality?
Use the worldview questions to see how your new religion answers them.
- How did we get here?
- What is the meaning of life?
- What is wrong with the world?
- How can it be fixed?
So I answered them based on the characteristics of my ‘god’. First, everything was created from nothing (ex nihilio). The meaning of life is to be good. Then I found a problem.
What’s wrong with the world? There couldn’t be a transcendent standard since my ‘god’ isn’t of good character. The double standard means he’s flawed, there isn’t justice. It would depend on his mood.
How do we fix it? By being really good, sticking with these rules he teaches, and hoping he’s in a good mood.
He’s fairly incoherent. I wondered what kind of god I created according to J.B Phillips’ book, Your God Is Too Small. I found it on page 53 under “Projected Image”. If that’s a reflection of me as all-powerful, then I probably shouldn’t be trusted with massive amounts of power. That’s a scary God.
It also makes me think of how people construct God based on a few verses or from excluding some they don’t like. Usually saying, “I don’t believe God would…” for example. Both are tailor made and not reality.
It reminded me of a C.S Lewis quote from God In The Dock. In the essay “Answers to Questions On Christianity”, Lewis answered this question; “Which of the religions of the world gives its followers the greatest happiness?”
His answer, after repeating the question, was this:
“While it lasts, the religion of oneself is the best. I have an elderly acquaintance of about eighty who has lived a life full of unbroken selfishness and self-admiration from the earliest years, and is more or less, I regret to say, one of the happiest men I know. From the moral point of view it’s very difficult! I am not approaching the question from that angle. As you perhaps know, I haven’t always been a Christian, I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable I certainly don’t recommend Christianity. I am certain there must be a patent American article on the market which will suit you far better, but I can’t give you any advice on it.”
Not exactly cheerful news. Consider this, why did the Pharisees (self-righteous people) and leaders (powerful and wealthy) have a hard time following Jesus?
They thought they had made the cut; it was about what they could get. The Pharisees built up thousands of rules apart from Scripture, adhering to them, rather than God’s word. Jesus even called them “sons of the devil”.
Yet, those who saw something greater than them came to Jesus in their inadequacy and brokenness. He saves those that do come to him like that, and doesn’t leave them like that. He makes them greater, what they could be, and the fact they’re saved and the chains of the past are undone brings joy.
Would a god you could fit in a box, that is up to your standards, be worthy of being worshipped or called God? Would an all powerful version of yourself be a good thing?
Think through these questions and see if you surprise yourself on who you truly follow.