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Making Sense of God within the Bible

We’re all making sense of God – and many people have regarded to the Bible to try this. But, the Bible typically sends us conflicting messages about who God is.

This weblog sequence is taken, kind of as is, from my newest guideHow The Bible Truly Works. You’ll be able to learn the primary posts on this sequence right here and right here.

The Bible is, if something, a guide, the aim of which is to inform us what God is like. Some say that “revealing” God to us is the Bible’s true goal.

So when the Bible says one thing
about God, individuals of religion are inclined to take it to coronary heart, which we do with some
enthusiasm once we learn that God is the defender of the poor and oppressed,
savior of the widow and orphan, champion of the downtrodden, simply king and neutral
decide of all, shepherd of sheep, rock of safety, flowing stream of
refreshment, comforter of the sick, and above all (for Christians) the one who
despatched us Jesus.

I’m drawn to this God, imagine in
this God, although with good and unhealthy days, as have many individuals of religion for a
very very long time. However, to be sincere, I—like Pascal—have numerous bother squaring
this attentive, supportive, and obtainable God with a God who’s answerable for
this ridiculously massive, impersonal, chilly, darkish, largely empty, horrifying,
and under no circumstances comforting or inviting universe we reside in.

What does it imply to make sense of God?

Don’t get me improper, I’ve nothing towards the universe. I just like the universe, and I’d hate to go away it. However from a religion perspective I’m unsure what it means to say the types of issues that Christians say about God with no second thought, like God is “up there wanting down” and cares for every one in all us personally—or as Jesus put it, Even the hairs of your head are all counted (Matthew 10:30).

Connecting with the God of the
Bible could be lots simpler if we didn’t know as a lot—which might be just about
any time apart from this time limit in world historical past that each one of us have been
dropped into. Take me again to the carefree days of medieval Europe, with its
small, flat, younger earth and a dome overhead moderately than an infinite universe
and infinite time.

It’s only a lot to absorb is all
I’m saying.

And as if science weren’t sufficient
to course of, believing within the “God of the Bible” is difficult for one more
motive—a minimum of it’s for most individuals I’ve encountered.

God appears uncomfortably sensitive. It
doesn’t take a lot to set him off to kill, plague, or in any other case bodily
punish these frail human vessels God has created. Swift bodily retribution
appears to be this God’s go-to technique of battle decision.

We solely have to get to the sixth
chapter of the Bible to see God already so fed up that he drowns all flesh by which is the breath of
life—people along with animals
(for good measure, I suppose)—apart from Noah and his household
(eight in all) and two of every sort of animal that God will want for urgent
reset and repopulating the earth, plus extra animals so the right appeasing
sacrifices could be made, which, given the circumstances, looks as if a superb

Even when we expect (as I do) that
God didn’t truly drown all life on earth besides eight people and a ship full
of animals, and that the story of Noah isn’t historic, however one in all many
historic tales from larger Mesopotamia to clarify (it appears) a cataclysmic
native (not world) deluge of some kind, that doesn’t get us off the hook

We nonetheless have the issue that the God of the Bible is portrayed as doing one thing moderately brutalwithin the first place and so early within the sport.

Was that the one resolution? Was
there no backup plan? Was this the one conceivable approach ahead?

Is that this what the God of the 546-sextillion-mile-in-diameter universe is admittedly like? Is the God of all there’s, was, and ever can be even be so fast to erase humanity off this speck of mud we name house like somebody hosing grass clippings off the driveway?

That simply appears out of character
to me for a God who set in movement the galaxies, with all their thriller, awe,
and incomprehensibility. Is a God like that actually going to soften down in
Genesis 6 like a frazzled ill-equipped mother or father of a toddler?

And this similar God will later, with
disturbing regularity, rain down plagues, pestilence, and conflict on his personal
individuals, the Israelites, once they disobey, to not point out command the
annihilation of Israel’s enemies and hand out demise sentences to adulterers, perjurers,
younger males who dishonor their dad and mom, and those that falsely declare {that a} lady
is a virgin.

The Bible says lots about God that’s comforting, encouraging, and provoking, however at different instances not a lot.

The Bible sends us conflicting messages about what this God is like.

The Lord is my shepherd and Though I stroll by way of the darkest valley(Psalms 23:1, 4) aren’t at all times sufficient to stability out I’m going to … destroy … all flesh by which is the breath of life (Genesis 6:17) and Take the blasphemer exterior the camp … and stone him (Leviticus 24:14).

Making sense of this God creates challenges for me, and once I convey the universe into it, I don’t thoughts saying as soon as once more, I’ve a tough time connecting the God of again there after which with my world right here and now.

And I’m not the one one, of
course. I do know many individuals of religion who
battle usually with the God of the Bible, as a result of this God appears so locked
in a world we don’t acknowledge, a world that’s so distant from ours—a world we
have labored arduous to recover from. I do know others who say this God isn’t well worth the
bother and subsequently select to imagine in no God in any respect.

Nobody ought to underestimate the power of this dilemma or the stress and ache it creates for individuals attempting to imagine and make sense of God.

Those that have a tough time with the God of the Bible can’t be dismissed as faithless rebels towards God’s phrase. Some wish to have religion—however additionally they wish to have integrity.

They reside right here and now, not there after which, but they’ve this historic Bible and a Christian religion sure quick to it, and the best way ahead looks like strolling on a razor’s edge between two choices—perception within the absurd God or perception that the concept of God is absurd.

Searching for extra? Proceed the dialog and seize a duplicate of How the Bible Truly Works.

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