How do you envision God?
In D.A. Carson’s book, “The God Who Is There,” He says there are three main ways that people envision God.
• Model 1. The Soft Grandfather: “God is a benevolent gentleman with a long, flowing beard whose primary job is to be nice and to forgive us.“*
• Model 2. The Distant Deity: “God is incalculably huge and transcendently glorious. So of course you cannot expect him to concern himself with your two-bit existence down here.”*
• Model 3. The You-Scratch-My-Back-I’ll-Scratch-Yours God: “Provided you are good enough, you will get married. Provided you read your devotions every day, you will live a long life. And one day you will go to heaven.”*
None of these models align properly with the Bible.
Model 1 falls short because: Although God is Love, He is also Holy and Just. So when confronted with evil or sin, He is actually angry (Psalms 5:4-6). As Carson puts it, “The grandfather model puts us at the center of the universe and God’s role is to coddle us.”*
Model 2 falls short because: Although God IS huge, He is also intensely personal. If God is so distant and unconcerned, then why are the very hairs of my head numbered (Luke 12:7)?
Model 3 falls short because: It’s a barter system. You trade with someone who needs something you can offer. God doesn’t need anything. You cannot bribe Him. What we consider to be righteous acts are like filthy rags anyways (Isa. 64:6)!
(There is also the Model of God as a Watch-Maker. He made the watch, wound it up, and now leaves it to run on its own. Unfortunately, I think many hold this false view as well.)
So, how should we envision God then?
Turn with me to Acts 17:25. “And He is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything. Rather, He Himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.”
God doesn’t need us, we need Him. We are here living and breathing and everything else – because God gives it. It is by His Sovereign Grace that anything and everything happens, including a relationship with Him.
This is a tricky subject and believe me, I don’t have all the answers. However, just because I can’t comprehend all of God, doesn’t mean I don’t trust Him fully or rely on Him completely.
• He is loving, yet just.
• He is incalculably huge, yet intensely personal.
• He doesn’t have any needs, yet He desires a relationship with us.
He is faithful. And I am thankful.
I’ll leave you to meditate on Numbers 6:24-26. This is a Biblical “picture” of who God is:
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”
He longs to bless us, keep us, and give us peace.
May God’s Love be with you
*”The God Who Is There” D.A. Carson