What Does God Want To Do

Let’s pretend for a moment that the readership of the following scripture is not a Christian. They know nothing of God or His desires. They are not predisposed to Church doctrine or religious jargon.  What would they understand from this scripture:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1

One would assume without any previous knowledge that God desires to communicate. Upon further investigation, you would discover that God does so through the greatest intervention in the history of humanity.  God became human through Christ in order to redeem us.

While this is common knowledge within the Christian circles, this is an incredible counter-cultural act on our God’s part among other religions. Among other beleif systems, humanity is constantly trying to communicate with deities in hopes of one day acheiving the status of godlike, nirvana, etc.  Some gods/goddesses are aloof and difficult to communicate with, wherein only the elect, more devote members hear them.

As I think about God’s eagerness to communicate with me, I can not help but wonder what I have missed each day because of the distractions of life.


5 thoughts on “What Does God Want To Do

  1. Kevin, I don't think you understand what other religions believe about the communications of the “gods”. In Islam, Allah wants to communicate with his followers. He gave them a law and has sent prophets.In Hinduism, Brahmin frequently appears to guide humanity in the form of avatars. In fact, some branches of Hinduism even insist that the gods are manifestations of one god (they do embrace monism).The Iliad, the closest thing to a Bible the ancient Greeks had, begins with a communication of displeasure by the gods and their demands. They frequently interact with men. The Roman world was replete with oracles and prophets.In the biblical near-east, all the gods spoke through prophets. This is testified in the Scripture itself, “prophets of Baal”.Zoroastrainism portrays itself as beginning when Zarathustra heard a message from Ahura Mazda regarding the conflict between good and evil and how to fight in it.I could go on, but in any religion promising a godlike state, the gods act to show men how to achieve that state. They do often interact and seek to communicate. Often, they are transactional, but most Christian churches are transactional as well, so that is hardly a leg-up (e.g. “Pray the sinner's prayer, and you get salvation; that is all God wants”.) Not all religions promise a godlike state, and these will treat their gods as more indifferent.I certainly agree with the premise that God wants to communicate, and I wouldn't want to disagree. However, portraying it as counter-cultural, or something unique to Christianity, is simply false. It would be hard to find a more ubiquitous religious principle or one that tends to be more cultural. It only seems counter-cultural in our own society because it is actively moving away from belief in any gods.

  2. That God wants to communicate with us is a wonderful thing, but I have to agree with Kenneth that it is hardly a unique theme to Christianity. However, you might want to play up the importance of John 1:14. God didn't come just looking like us (as some of the Gnostic groups thought) or as an “amped-up” superhuman. He. came. as. one. of. us. (See, I can be postmodern :))

  3. Thanks for your input. I wasn't suggesting that God wanting to communicate is unique to Christianity. I was suggesting the communication itself was unique. For example,From what I have seen, only the elect or special are able to hear the gods/goddesses. Usually, this involves some sort of special ritual, idol worship, etc. While Christians believe in prophets, we also believe that God speaks to every one. Even in Judaism, you have God speaking to the common man. Take Job for example, who was by no means a prophet.And there is nothing special required. We are all the same in his eyes.There is also a tension among some religions of achieving some state of nirvana or godlikeness. Christians recognize that we will never be God or want to be God. We love Him as creator and we as created.

  4. I don't believe even that dichotomy holds up. Not all the world religions believe that we will become gods. In fact, most of them either believe that we will be invited into some carnal paradise (e.g. Islam) or that we will cease to exist as individuals (Hinduism). The latter is what Nirvana is: the obliteration of the individual so that he becomes perfectly one with God. Even here, Islam makes a harder distinction between the state of the created and the Creator than Christianity does, while we do not go as far as Hinduism. There is a whole spectrum of beliefs on this in other religions, and Christianity is different only in a couple of points (none of which have been mentioned in this discussion).With that in mind, there is a great variety here. Animistic religions have the gods interacting very intimately with their subjects. They appear to the common man. They enter them, sometimes possess them. This sort of ecstasy is where we actually get our word “mania”, because it often involves seemingly psychotic spells.On the other end of the spectrum, we have religions that people try to cleanse themselves of all emotions. They, however, still believe their god is intimate with them. He, if it is personal, comes to inhabit them and change their consciousness so that they see the world differently.Still other religions believe that the gods send signs to everyone. Sometimes it is something mundane like a bad omen (broke a pencil), or sometimes it is astrology. We would call this superstitious, but in pagan religions it may very well be quite active.If we look at Christianity, the picture isn't so cozy either. Much of what people attribute to God is simply their own thoughts or emotions (“God” tells everyone something different). People look to pastors, spiritual leaders, or some other such thing. They gather around them. The very existence of these individuals means that we believe that not everyone hears God the same way or as well. If we did, then we would not have any use for specialized roles like this. I do believe that there is some interpretation to be done in this (I am by no means an advocate of a caste system and believe it is due to human weakness), but we emphatically do not believe, at least in practice, that all men can hear God the same, and practice is the acid test for theory.The difference in Christian communication with God has nothing to do with whether the peasant can hear Him or not. God is not an egalitarian anywhere except judgment. Our difference, as Dann stated, is that Christ became one of us. He took on dirty flesh, crapped his diapers, divested Himself of His knowledge and power, lived a pauper, died a criminal, and offers humanity the ability to participate in His nature (almost Hindu-style), but without losing our person-hood (very much Islam-style). The power of God, and His communication, comes in self-emptying love that becomes flesh. It is that point, and really only that point, that has no parallel in other religions.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s