Tag Archives: Mea culpa

Mea Culpa: Defining God

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I have been guilty of a grievous error: I have thought it possible to comprehend God.

Reading Knowing God by J. I. Packer I have been convicted of my inability to logically comprehend God.

Let us say I compose a piece of music. I put into that music my heart and soul, my passion and creativity, a dash of pathos, and sprinkle of… whatever I’d sprinkle in a piece of music. As a composer that piece of music is mine. That music’s very mine-ness, though, prevents it from ever being me.

“Duh”, you say. But think of that concept applied to God.

God created the universe, the physical laws of the universe, all that we see and touch and hear and feel and experience. He also created how we experience. He created our senses and our minds and hearts and, listen carefully, the emotions and thoughts, the mental and spiritual and emotional mechanisms by which we experience. And, just as He created the non-physical mechanisms of experience, He created the non-physical mechanisms by which we ponder and manipulate creation.

By the very act of His creating the ideas of love and peace and justice and mercy He shows that he himself cannot be our human conceptions of these metaphysical entities. Our conceptions of these concepts are mere shadows of what He is. We can attempt to use words to describe and encapsulate the totality of the epitome of His characteristics, but the entire surface covered with books would still be too few words to describe Him in even only one of His aspects.

My big error was based on the idea that, as God’s creation is logical and can be understood to abide by laws and facts, God Himself must therefore be logical and capable of being understood by rules and facts. The inference was that those facts of human logic that enable and undergird much of our understanding of the world would be the same laws by which we would be enabled to understand God.

This cannot be further from the truth, and indeed it indicates some portion of my pride.

God, creating a world that can be understood by logic, which He then, by extension, would have created, is above and outside those laws and logic which He created. The creator of time cannot Himself be bound by time. He is not prevented from participating in it, but to do so requires a conscious intention and action on His part.

Let me not think of God as being comprehendable, in the abstract sense. Instead, let me see God as one far above and apart from me who, nevertheless, has chosen to make Himself known to me, involving me in the plans He is working out through all His creation.

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