Saturday, December 28, 2013

God's Nationality

I just finished Gilead  by Marilynne Robinson. I enjoyed the book very much. I was amazed that she could write convincingly in the first person as an old preacher. I'm getting to be an old preacher myself so I can tell you that she pulled it off.

I was struck by something she said about the nationality of God. Her main character, the old preacher John Ames, was discussing one of his favorite authors, John Calvin. He said that Calvin, no doubt, thought of God as French. He, on the other hand, as a midwestern American, thought of God in that fashion.

I was shocked to find that he was exactly right. I have often preached that God has made us in His image and that we ought not to recreate Him in ours. In preaching this, I am affirming the absolute authority of Scripture and that we need to be constantly transformed by God's Spirit and Word into the image of God. I suppose I had never really thought of what God is like in His person as Father, until yesterday. Is that possible?

Of course, God is not a Frenchman, nor an American. We should rightly be appalled at such thoughts, especially the former. Smile. It would be helpful for us to see our bias so that we can step aside of it a bit. I am not sure we can step outside of it but if we know we are biased, then perhaps we can make an adequate adjustment?

Perhaps this is one reason why we are not allowed to make images of God? They would so radically reveal our bias that it would be established in stone. Hard to make our way aside then. The images of God in our head are hard enough to mold into the image of the One true God.

So, let us take God at His Word. Let His Spirit change our thinking of Him through our understanding of His Word and may He take that Word and transform our thoughts into His thoughts and our ways into His.

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