It’s been a while since I wrote a piece on this space. I initially wanted to do a post about Fathers (for Fathers’ Day) but was unable to follow through with it. My due apologies.
Recently, I have been thinking about the nature of the interaction that exists between God and Man. This seems to be brought into sharp focus whenever Man admits to ‘understand’ God.
As a general rule, man does better with things he can see or things he can relate with that which he can see. This could be for conceptualization or comparison, but either way, man tends to do that.
For instance, if I say, “I saw a beautiful girl today”, you would immediately have a problem because you want to understand what I mean, so you would probably attempt to compare her (in terms of the degree of beauty) to someone we both know. My response to that comparison would give you a better understanding of my initial statement.
This is a behaviour peculiar to Man. This is also one of the ideas behind idol worship. That’s why in the Ten Commandments, the people of Israel were charged strictly:
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:Exodus 20:4 (KJV)
Man might not have seen anything in the heavens or under the earth or in the water under the earth, but because we know that they exist and want to have some form of interaction with them, we can create an image of them for ourselves that helps us with that interaction. (Unsurprisingly, these created images are similar to what we have seen before.)
When men relate with God, they have similar issues. Man often thinks of God as if he were thinking of a man. He visualises at God from the parameters of man. Whilst this is understandable because man was created – as it were – in the image of God, it presents a subtle but tremendous challenge.
God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?Numbers 23:19 (KJV)
This was the disclosure of Balaam to Balak in the day that he (Balaam) was called to place a curse on the people of Israel.
Now, this particular disclosure should not be a big deal, right? It should be obvious that God is not a man, because that’s the whole point of being God right?
Notice in the verse above the attributes of man mentioned, as opposed to the attributes of God: Men lie. Men readily and easily renege on what they say. That much is obvious. But why did we need that contrast? Because man, when he thinks of God, thinks in terms of a man, and of the attributes of men.
Therein lies the problem, such that, often a time, when God interfaces with men, He has to first establish his ‘God-ness’ in order to eliminate that thought’s stronghold.
My intention for the next couple of posts is to attempt to give an insight into why God does the things that He does. But I thought it better to restate that God is NOT a man and should not be treated as one.