In my opinion, God is one of the least understood people of all time. I have no stats to prove that, but from conversations I have had, scenes I have watched (in real life happenings and in fictional spaces), I see God largely misrepresented.
The question is though, why is God not understood, whose fault is it? Is it His or is it ours?
This doesn’t apply to just non-christians, it also applies to christians. The character of God is terribly mis-represented in many Christian circles. It begs the question, do they know and yet deny, or do they not know and just go with it. One of the most important lessons I have learnt in life is to be able to learn, unlearn and relearn. Not to hold on to theories, or ideas just for the feeling of being right and not wanting to admit I was wrong at any time.
God has been blamed for many things in the past, it didn’t just start in our day. Some parts of the bible portray God as the villain. This doesn’t in any way dent the integrity of the bible, it just shows where God was with the world at that time and vice versa.
This is a good place to jump into the scripture, we are going to start with. Hebrews 1:1-4
- God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,
- has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;
- who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
- having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
We see from this scripture that God started the speaking, He started the communication, He started the pursuing and the people He started speaking to were Prophets. Prophets in this context would mean chosen men and women who would “carry” God’s word to a populace. In essence, He started by speaking to people. But Here is the problem, “people” couldn’t understand God. It wasn’t “people’s” fault, it wasn’t God’s fault either.
An illustration I like to give is this(well, its in the bible):
A rich man has one or more sons, He also has servants. Let’s say the servant is a gateman or a doorman. No matter how many times a rich man stops to talk to him, he can’t claim he knows the rich man in and out.
A high probability of intimate knowledge would rest with his wife or his son in this case. The family of the man sees the man, they know him in weak times, great times, poor times, rich times, they might know what he struggles with and how to reach his heart at any given time. This is an ideal situation though.
In the same way, “people” couldn’t understand God well, they must have tried to, must have wanted to look into God with a microscope, but they just couldn’t. They couldn’t handle it, the process had not been completed.
No matter how interesting erecting a building is, you can not put a roof on top of the foundation. There must be blocks there for the roof to sit on. If you do see a building with just a foundation and a roof, I would be very interested in seeing it.
So, God knew that He wasn’t understood or represented properly, it’s funny how He was patient for so many years. He knew he had to do something about it (its not like he didn’t know before the foundation of the world though). He did what any reasonable father would do. Send the person he trusts the most, the most effective person for the task.
It’s a natural occurrence, for the most daunting task or challenge, you bring out the biggest guns you have. America did not send a group of police officers to take out Osama Bin Laden, they didn’t send just any team to do that, they sent a special seal team.
God couldn’t send angels, He tried that multiple times and that had not worked well. Every time somebody saw an angel, the angel had to go through a process of calming them down. Fear not, do not be dismayed etc,
God couldn’t send “people” again, I mean “people” had done their part already.
God had to send himself in the form of “people”. He had to send his son. Hebrews describes the son perfectly. The appointed Heir, The creator, the brightness of His Glory, His image.
God now speaks to us by His son.
What does this mean for us? This means that the revelation, the understanding, the “everything” of God now rests on Jesus. This means that if Jeremiah and Jesus said two contradicting things, you should pick what Jesus said over what Jeremiah said.
This means that who we listen to now is the Son, Jesus the Christ. Hebrews 3:1-6
- Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus,
- who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was faithful in all His house.
- For this One has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as He who built the house has more honor than the house.
- For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God.
- And Moses indeed was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which would be spoken afterward,
- but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.
The writer of Hebrews, speaking to the Jews and knowing the person they recognised the most was Moses, because he gave them the Law, clearly points out that Moses was a faithful servant in God’s house, but that Christ was the Son over the house. Moses here can be used as a picture of all other “people” before Christ.
The express image of His person.
This is an expression I like so much. The Greek interlinear bible interprets this phrase as the carving of him. In my own words, it means the exact representation of God. Let me get geeky for a moment.
In mathematics, when we say 4=4, we mean the 4 is the same thing as 4. There is no difference, it is exactly the same numerical representation. It means that the 4 on the right would respond exactly to any mathematical operation the same way 4 on the left would.
If we then say that y=4 and x=4, we can say that x = y. Now we have two variables, x and y. But they are still exactly the same because they contain exactly the same thing which is 4. So, x/1.0938 and y/1.0938, would always always always yield the same result.
This gives us a basis to look at Christ and God. If we say Christ is God and God is Christ, then we have to agree that God and Christ, behave alike, talk alike, think alike. “Alike” here doesn’t mean close, it means they behave, think, talk and act exactly the same way, because of course they would respond to any situation in the same way.
If you don’t believe that God and Christ are exactly the same, here are some scriptures to help you.
1 Tim 3:16
- And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.
- But to the Son He says: “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
- You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.”
- And: “You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands.
- They will perish, but You remain; And they will all grow old like a garment;
- Like a cloak You will fold them up, And they will be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will not fail.”
- But to which of the angels has He ever said: “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool”?
God called Jesus God.
- In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
- He was in the beginning with God.
- All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
- But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.”
- Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.
The Jews understood what He meant every time He called God His father and Himself, Gods son.
So, this means we can look at Jesus and say we are looking at God. We can talk to Jesus and say we talked to God By the way, this applies to the Spirit of God too.