|Limited God: Why Does Man Hate God?|
|Written by David Lawrence|
|Wednesday, September 03 2008 14:10|
Why do we try to limit God?
One response will not answer all the above questions, but we would like to suggest one that is plausible. First, we need to notice that man often places limitations on God. We define God as the one being who is perfectly holy, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, eternal, and immutable. Yet in his mind and speech man often compromises God's holiness by familiar terms like "the man upstairs," or by conceiving of God as a grandfatherly figure who loves people so much that he overlooks their sins. Some believe that God will never send anyone to hell, and others think that he can have nothing to do with disasters and human suffering.
God's omnipotence is compromised by those who think that he is out of control of the affairs of this world. Some question his power to create matter or work miracles. Others think he can have no influence over the human heart and mind.
Often we hear people say that God chooses not to know something about us in order to allow our freedom of choice. For instance, some say that God withholds his knowledge about our eternal salvation in order to preserve our free will. Others say that he does not know the day of our death or anything about tragedies that may occur, lest by divine knowledge he preordain those events. Some have taught that God learns from man, and thus he is open to growing along with man.
Some do not believe that God is everywhere or sees all that they do. Many people believe that God changes his mind about things, and allows man to influence his decisions. They believe that he discards an evil plan toward man when people pray that he will do so, and essentially agrees that manÃŒs idea is better.
Certainly, only the most liberal people have gone so far as to claim that God is not eternal. We remember Nietzsche's claim that "God is dead." But the God who emerges from the mental images of many people today is stripped of his power, rather helpless and non-threatening, existing to act as a heavenly bell-hop who responds to our wishes when expressed to him in prayer. He is kind, loving all, wanting all to be saved, but not willing or able to effect that salvation, lest he ÃforceÃ“ man into a relationship that he does not freely choose to enter.
But what are the reasons for such unworthy views of God? Why has man robbed God of the very attributes that make him God? Aside from the money theologians make from the sale of their books and the popularity preachers gain by proclaiming such a message, may we suggest that man's fallen nature has an inherent hatred for God? Paul said that "the sinful mind is hostile to God" (Rom. 8:7). Man by nature does not want to have God in his mind (Rom. 1:28). Like the people in Jesus' parable, we do not want God to be our king (Luke 19:14). The natural man wants to break the chains of God and throw off his fetters (Psalm 2:3). This hatred for God is manifested in atheism, but it is also found in theism by people who are unwilling the deny the existence of God, but prefer a God who is essentially harmless and no threat to their own freedom.
But why would people who really trust in Christ and are truly saved hold such a view of God? We may suggest that false teaching, failure to study Scripture for oneself, or ignorance may have to do with it, but we must also face the reality that even in regenerate people there remain vestiges of the fallen nature that rise up again and again. As we crucify the old man of sin and experience the renewing of our minds and draw ever nearer to the God who Is, may we gain a true and genuine picture of Him who is uncompromisingly thrice-holy, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, eternal, and immutable!