Friday, January 07, 2005

A Fantastical God

Historically there have been lots of heresies. Perhaps I am off base, but it seems like most heresies seem to be associated with a perceived attempt to deny God’s power. It rarely seems like attributing more perceive positives to God is a bad thing. If this is a general human trend, does this mean we have evolved a conception of God that, while making us feel good, may not be entirely accurate?

Now, no one ever wants to be accused of denying God’s power. One of the big worries is probably the consequence of leading others astray. Just as you are better filling up the car just before it runs out of gas rather than after, it is usually safer to be a little bit over cautious about the divine. This type of thought pattern tends to arise when there is a threshold that must be crossed. Many people talk about salvation in these terms. Perhaps because of this, many issues about divinity also receive this type of reverence. However it may be a bit assiduous to assume that beliefs that exaggerate God are fine, but those that diminish him are wrong. Personally, I think anything that doesn’t lead too a correct view are pretty much equally useless. The side of the fence you are on is probably more a function of social pressure and cultural ethics than anything else. It’s just that most people assume that, in this case, conservatism is a better choice (and I think for most people it probably is the safest choice to make).

The main concern I have with ascribing too much to God is that it sets us up for a fantasy world. While perhaps a Zionist like separation of believers and non believers may increase spiritual manifestations, is that a possibility that should exclude dealing with the here and now? For me, the failure of Zionism in Utah in the 1800’s answers this question. Fantastical belief doesn’t make God any more God. It may facilitate belief and trust in him, but it may also blind us to the simplicity of reality.

The reality may be that God is a real person, similar to you and me. He may be limited by many of the same universal laws that limit us. And yet, despite it all, he still overcomes, and directs all the miracles that happen, all the answers that are given, and all the guidance we need. Perhaps while expounding the profound depths of his personality traits we unwittingly carry the more physical attributes of God’s reality into a world of fantasy.

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