Thursday, 28 February 2013
Struggles with an Omni god
I struggle with an Omni-god.
Not a god that reads a defunct Sci-Fi magazine; or one that drives around in a vintage 70s Dodge automobile. My problem is with a god who is Omnipotent. I think that I can embrace a god who embraces all possibility and novelty; who is “already there” in the reality that my decisions create (already there in the alternatives, too)- but still leaves the decisions to me, making me a co-creator in reality. Perhaps that is a kind of Omniscience – all knowing… but it is in my choices; and choices of the others that the knowledge becomes evident and/or relevant. God simply knows everything, because that is God’s nature. Big Deal.
I suppose that’s more of an Omnipresence. God is already “there”; always “there”… there is no “there” without God. Again, it would seem to be a feature of God’s nature; or the nature of reality… so, again: Big Deal.
But, when I get to Omnipotent, I get into trouble. Not simply because I am become very disappointed in a god who hasn’t fixed the things that vex me; hurt the world; make lives tragic. But because the construct creates an untenable reality.
In trying to come to grips with the God that inspires “awe” and wanting this “awe” to be extreme, we decided that God was the smartest, lovingest, bestest, fastest, strongest thing in reality (for brevity let’s go with the acronym SLBFS). In fact, God is not a thing (as a thing exist within something else), but God IS reality. And we live in God. Except that we don’t, because we can sin and wander away from God… so, how can we wander away from that in which we live… so, as a working hypothesis, God is IN reality, but is the smartest, lovingest, bestest, fastest, strongest for all time (which doesn’t exist for God either). Cross our hearts and hope to die. (which can’t happen to God either). Do you see how hard this all becomes??? So we settle for an Onmipotent God. At least that we can understand. The strongest that there can ever be! No matter what you think the ultimate power may be – God is bigger and more powerful.
So, living with this God who is so powerful and all-knowing… when bad things happen, it must be part of God’s plan. When thousands die in an earthquake, it must be God’s plan. Surely, God could have save them… but as God did not, there must be a reason. God is not cruel… (refer back to the SLBFS god), God knows it all, sees it all, controls it all… So, those that perished did so because they either deserved to die or because their deaths provided a greater benefit to the rest of us. Sucks to be an object lesson.
With this god, there is no chaos in the universe; no random occurrence; no “real” novelty (already known by God)… but, instead, a whole lot of seemingly wanton and capricious acts of cruelty.
And along comes Jesus and reminds his disciples that the blind man is not the result of his parents’ sin; that those who died when the towers fell were no different than those who survived or lived nowhere near… in other words, Jesus would seem to indicate that there is a random element in the universe: Shit does happen. And there is God.
God who is revealed in Love, not in power. The great thing about Love is that it will out… love always find a way. Strength and power fade, it is in their nature; but Love need never fade… We can be distracted from love, waylaid and pre-occupied, but when we return, when we discover the limits of power, love comes back to life. Again and again… and will do so always.
I don’t know… my thoughts are half baked, as I emerge from the cocoon of my bed… there may be an Easter sermon here… at the very least there is a sense, for me, that Jesus struggled with an Omnipotent god, too – which is why he always seems to point to a different God, one of compassion and love.