UI – Part 143 – Man Using God versus God Using Man
Religions evolve and gods are accepted. What makes one god more unique, appealing, more real or more acceptable than another?
Most religions contemplate God and for this discussion all references to Religion are those that contemplate God. God is the creator, a powerful agent for all that is. God can be a Being of mystery, unexplainable, incorruptible, immutable, inconceivable, all forgiving, all powerful and omnipresent. It is an eternal being without beginning or end, metaphysical compared to a natural being. In that way the beginning of the universe can have a cause, God, the uncaused, the unmoved who makes what happens happen? God may be the universe itself; we are all residents and make-up what God represents. God may be isolated and arrogant, a vengeful and wrathful Being whose judgment of the peoples of the world is quick and effective, imposing and scary. God can be a loving omnipotent source for all that is caring and respectful.
From my book The Proven God, “ From the earliest days of mankind, God, or their gods (those conjured up by believers to be other than the true God, or material idols, or fictitious gods; or those who claim a world without God), something man could not fully comprehend – the supernatural, was factored into outcomes observed….The term god was probably not the first designator for the unknown.”[i]
Man suspects and has philosophized about God. Many, the atheists and humanists, have denied God. But they do not comprise a religion, as they do not accept God. If the term ‘Religion’ tends to contain a focus on God, certainly a ‘NoGod’ focus is also possible and may well be called Religion. Atheists accept anything. How could an atheist ever take an oath of office which by itself suggests respecting an all-powerful force greater than any man, government or system – God?
Applying a degree of philosophy, although atheists deny God’s existence, they spend hours upon hours debating His existence or absence thereof. Such a dedication to discussing that which does not exist makes one wonder. They must wonder enough as to the probability of God to spend as much time as they do claiming God is not. By assumption then can it be claimed God must Be? To debate that which is not seems a waste of time and effort, unless there is a subliminal or clear possibility of God’s existence.
God as Leader
From what many have learned or considered God is seen as a leader, an overseer, a governor, a ruler and a maker of laws. God is a would-be king, lording over all that he sees. That places God at a level above all. When man tries to become a substitute for God, when in a position of authority, acting as God conceivably would act many religions are considered, one in particular being the Islamic Religion. Allah, the god of Islam, as presented in the Quran, is the first cause, uncreated. Many Muslims regard the Quran as uncreated, but there are those that see it as a creation of man – Muhammad and his Companions.
Leaders in the Muslim world all tend to be authoritarian. Tyrannical, totalitarians; they believe they are as god to their nation. To the people they oversee and overlord they are to be obeyed, honored, respected and feared. BUT they are not God. Allah is the example from which they take their lead, and then impose their will as if it is the Will of Allah. It is a useful tool for aggrandizing their thrones of power and making the lesser bow to their commands. It is the Islamic, Islamist’s, way. The transfer of wealth they envision is from society to their personal treasury, using enough to keep the people quiet, satisfied, on various forms of habituates (not just drugs), or otherwise appeased. When dissention arises, it is as if the people are rising up against god. They must be stopped to preserve the peace, the kingdom, not of god, but of the tyrant.
God as Servant
For Christians the role model is different. It is the role model of the only one who lived a perfect life. Jesus is the Savior to Christians. Jesus is divine; God incarnate, as One with God. To Muslims Jesus is Isa, a perfect example, but neither savior nor divine. He lived a life without sin, a life all should emulate; a life impossible to equal. He is God, the person-God, man-God, that transcended to earth so humans could know God better and see the value of a relationship with Him. The Oneness of God for the Christian is as God the creator, God the implementer, and God the guarantor. They are the most significant attributes of God. Other attributes such as omniscience, omnipotence, all-loving, forgiving, ever-truthful, and so on are unique to God as man cannot and does not comprise such attributes. However most unique to the Christian God, exemplified in the life led by Jesus, is humility. He focused on those poor in spirit and did not seek riches except for the riches gained from knowing and obeying God.
When men, the priestly contingent, in the early church took it upon themselves to regulate the interpretation of the Bible, attributing a less than equal mind to the subjects of the church, they created a power base for themselves. This is not as God desired. They took advantage of their status enriching themselves and enjoying a pampered lifestyle in the process. They established rules-of-law, man-made, to control the populace for the church, using the name of God as defense. The Catholic Church preserved the history of the early church formed by those that believed and followed Christ. Many of the records of biblical history were saved, to their credit. The church, however, was complete with flawed men in positions of authority. They were teachers, many the worst kind – false teachers. They abused their power. This gave the Christian church a black-eye which even today takes considerable discussion to mitigate.
We do not defend those actions. Except to say the church, even today, is filled with sinful men, yet as believers, with a heart for God, they repent and seek God’s forgiveness. Their teaching is only as followers of Christ and the Good News God provided. Man is no substitute for God; but God can be a substitute for man. That is the role Christ played in substituting himself for the sinful man in everyone of us and taking the punishment we deserve to his death on a cross. Imagine the sacrifice God made reducing himself to human form (yet divine) to then suffer as a human, but out of love and for the benefit of mankind.
Jesus never struck out to be a Caesar, a Governor, a leader of the Sanhedrin, head of the Knesset, a prime minister or President. Nor was he to be a Pope or a Buddha, or a Caliph or a Khomeini. He was to lead a sin free life, being kind and caring, not subject to temptation, humble and a servant to the people. As God he would show the world how man should conduct himself, not how man should be a god and in total control. Man was to control in God’s name nothing other than himself. Government was to be separate from the halls of faith, yet the foundation for the moral and ethical values as God proclaimed were to be hard-wired into the system of civil justice for everyone. The Founders of America understood this.
Jesus taught those who listened and accepted that salvation was possible for the ones who believed in what he provided. It was not achieved by merit. It was not a payment for efforts made to memorize the Bible or preach the Word. It was not gained through praying or adhering to ceremony. It was not ‘self-salvation’. It was free. Salvation is not a ‘me’ thing. This man-God who lived a sin free existence took on our sins, our debts, our transgressions, all of them, and was punished accordingly. He suffered for you and me. The cross was where his life was taken, our sins forgiven. He died because of mankind. His resurrection was proof of his divinity. It showed too that he overcame death. He proved resurrection and confirmed eternal life. He died and rose again so those who believe and have a heart for God may be righteous in God’s eyes, blameless, and have eternal life with Him. It is through Christ that we can come to the heavenly realm with all who believe in Him.
Leaders – More Servant than King
Our leaders, those in Government, are to serve the people. Too often they expect the people to serve them, as the minions are to serve a King, or at least to allow them to take advantage of their authority and unbeknownst to the people structure laws than benefit themselves more than the people. This is not servitude. It is selfishness. It is not God-like either. Definitely not Christ-like. The people’s treasury is not the leader’s treasury. The suffering servant that was Christ did not have on his agenda being a King or the head of the Roman Empire. His life became the example admired, and scorned, because of the sacrifice required, the selfless nature that must be exhibited without acclaim, and his willingness to die for his people so they may live. He gave his life for the poor, the meek, the peacemakers, the hungry, the thirsty, the widows and the children encouraging them all that their value was in their spirit and heart for God, not in riches, material things, accolades, and that-a-boys for accomplishments. If we were all to follow his example how different this world would be.
Thanks Be to the Lord.
Grace and Peace
[i]The Proven God, by Thomas W. Balderston, 2011, Tate Publishing, Mustang, OK, pg. 22