The story we told last session spoke about life as a play, written and directed by God.
Our whole course will build on this illustration, and explore what it means for our lives. But since it presupposes a director, God, we need to explore that idea.
It’s possible you are here today, and your belief in God is black or white. Either:
- You are completely certain that God exists, and not willing to question it
- You are completely convinced that there is no God, and not willing to question that.
It’s much more likely that you’re somewhere along a spectrum between those two extremes!
- Maybe some doubt
- Maybe some hope
- All mixed together.
And you might even change your mind from day to day.
But that’s not all there is to consider, because even if you believe God exists, we have to ask what kind of God?
- An angry God who strikes people down when they mess up?
- An all-powerful God who is intimately involved in our world and individual lives?
- An all-powerful God who created the world, but then left it to run on its own, and never intervenes?
- A different sort of God, perhaps one who is inside of us, or is us?
- Are we each our own Gods? Or is there only one God?
- A nebulous spirit about whom we can know nothing?
- Or is God different for everyone, more of a concept or idea than an actual being?
Whether we believe in God or not, or whatever kind of God we claim to believe in, or not, most of us come to those beliefs on a hunch.
We know what we think, and we look for ways to support it.
A friend once said – I know God doesn’t exist. I asked how, and he answered that he once demanded, “God, if you’re out there, strike me down with a bolt of lightning, and I’ll know you exist”.
He’s still alive to tell the story, so he decided God didn’t exist.
This reminded me of a Simpsons episode where Homer prays a ridiculous prayer.
Dear Lord: The gods have been good to me. For the first time in my life, everything is absolutely perfect just the way it is. So here’s the deal: You freeze everything the way it is, and I won’t ask for anything more. If that is OK, please give me absolutely no sign. OK, deal. In gratitude, I present you this offering of cookies and milk. If you want me to eat them for you, give me no sign. Thy will be done.
Whether you think God is an angry lightning bolt zapper, or if you just want God to stay out of your life and let you eat your cookies, you’ve started with an assumption about who God is, and if you go looking for that, you’re likely to find what you’re looking for.
The problem is, it won’t be God.
My friend asked – God, if you’re an angry people zapper, show me. When nothing happened, all he proved was that God wasn’t an angry people zapper, not that God didn’t exist.
Here is a great quote from an author named Patrick Morley: “The turning point in our lives is when we stop seeking the God we want and start seeking the God who is.”
The trick is to put our prejudices aside, and simply ask God who he is, rather than asking ourselves what we think God might be, and trying to prove our theories.
Think about your image of God. Where/how did you learn this?