Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Our Image of God

My last post ended with the words, “God is good!” What do those three words mean to you? If I ask, “What has God done for you lately?” what would your answer be? If you’re reading this right now, apparently God has given you another day and the ability to see. If you can’t see and someone is reading this to you, God has given you the ability to hear. Every breath we’re allowed to breathe is from God, who breathed the first breath into Adam. Our human minds can’t possibly fathom the greatness of God because our mortal vision is limited.

Ah......., and therein lies our dilemma; our mortal minds! Here, I’ll slip in a little lesson on our brains, okay? In the realm of Christendom our ‘hearts’ are often referred to; we ‘give our heart to Christ,’ have ‘joy in our heart,’ and strive to have ‘a pure heart.’ However, it is my belief that the ‘heart’ spoken of in the scriptures is actually our mind. Proverbs 23:7 (KJV) says, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he;” yet we know that we don’t think with our heart but with our brain or mind. One school of thought says that the word ‘heart’ was used because that’s where emotions are felt.
When a person gets excited, their heart races; when they grieve, they’re said to be ‘heart sick;’ fright can cause our heart to pound; falling in love ‘takes our breath away’ which, in turn, causes our heart rhythm to change. Fact: Emotions are experienced by the part of our brain called the ‘amygdala.’ It is in another portion of our brain, the ‘prefrontal cortex,’ that we decide how to act on the emotion experienced by the ‘amygdala.’ That decision directly affects our heart rate. So the natural order of our brain is to feel, think and then act. The problem is, many of us seem to spend little time on the thinking part; we ‘emote,’ which simply means we react to our feelings without thinking much about the outcome. Emoting can trick our minds into believing what isn’t true and cause errors in judgment.
Often higher education, and/or great success, tricks our minds into believing WE are our own creator. It is true that since we were born with free wills, the choices we make definitely do affect our outcomes. In our status driven society, the successful person is sometimes labeled a ‘self-made man’ while a poor, homeless, or disabled person is often labeled a ‘loser.’ Yet, in the end, both enter eternity with absolutely NO material goods and each answer to the same God. And exactly what part of us goes into eternity? I believe it is our mind; the home of our psyche or soul. Every tense of the word, ‘know’ is used many, many times in the scriptures. So it’s very important that we monitor what we allow our minds to believe or disbelieve.

That said, what is your image of God? In your mind’s eye, is He a grey haired old man with a look of anger like the person depicted in the following picture by Michelangelo? A hard and cruel task-master who is constantly disciplining us; just waiting for us to make a misstep so He can whack us? Does He have the personality of a narcissistic old school master?

Since God made man in His image, (Genesis 1:27), does that mean man’s size can be compared to God’s, as is depicted in the following picture, also by Michelangelo?

What is your image of God, and how big do you think He is? My next post will deal with both of those questions. Meanwhile, I’d appreciate your thoughts on the matter.