Wednesday, May 4, 2011

God in the Hot Seat

The ancient man approached God (or even the gods) as the accused person approaches his judge. For the modern man the roles are reversed. He is the judge: God is in the dock. He is quite a kindly judge: if God should have a reasonable defence for being the god who permits war, poverty and disease, he is ready to listen to it.

-- C.S. Lewis, "God in the Dock"
"I could not worship a God like that."

It is one of God's eternal blessings that he is a good God, a loving God, a merciful God, a beautiful God. And we ought to worship him for these attributes and more. But we also ought to worship him because he is God, and we are not.

This imperative is no time more crucial than when God reveals himself in ways inscrutable and uncomfortable, when God is being seeker-insensitive.

When God is like that, we are inclined to put him in the hot seat. To say things like "I couldn't worship a God who allowed this" or "I couldn't love a God who did that" is in essence to say, "I will worship the God that meets my demands." But God doesn't fill out job applications. You can try to, as C.S. Lewis says, put "God in the Dock," but he neither belongs nor fits there. He does not have to justify himself to us. It is a boon that he reveals himself to us.

God will meet our needs, and while he may answer our cries, he will not answer our demands. Because he is God.

And the LORD said to Job: "Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty? He who argues with God, let him answer it."
-- Job 40:1-2


J. Lopez said...

Great post, man! So often we try to act like we are more just and compassionate than God. We try to keep God PC, silencing His word during the uncomfortable parts! But when we see Him as the bible teaches Him we realize that we have no right whatsoever to question Him or challenge Him. He is completely sovereign! He is God, and we are nothing in comparison to Him.

oh, btw my name is juan. Feel free to check out my blog and leave me some comments. take care!

Dave said...

I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment but I still find it hard to communicate this to postmodern Americans.* They respond to this with a "You can't try to apply an absolute truth on me." To which I reply, "Your statement, that there are no absolute truths, is an absolute statement. It is self-contradictory."

And then they mutter something under their breath and walk away.

How would you communicate this truth to a postmodern who won't accept the God-ness of God?

*Maybe the audience isn't an issue, maybe it's always been like this, but I only know this culture.