Attributes of God
The tragedy in Indonesia has brought an age-old question to the surface again.
If there is a God then why does He/She/It allow such devastation and suffering? Surely it is mean spirited of the Supreme being to idly sit back and let a Tsunami overwhelm and kill thousands of people.
Such a thought is justified indeed if the mainstream view of God were true. And what is that? Basically, God is usually seen as an all powerful being sitting on a throne completely aware of every move and thought made by any being on earth. He could have snapped his fingers and stopped the Tsunami, but for some great hidden reason he did not. We are just supposed to have faith that even disasters are given to us by this all-knowing being for our own good.
Has anyone ever stopped to ask if God is all-powerful in the manner which is attributed to him? Could he really snap his fingers and have stopped the tsunami or even all human suffering?
Why is this all-powerful label given to God in the first place?
The answer to this is simple. God is not called all-powerful because of any reason, revelation, observation or experience of the believer. Instead, he is called all-powerful because of fear.
Fear of what?
The believer sees God as a supreme being with power to consign him to heaven or hell for all eternity in the next world. If he offends or goes contrary to the will of this being then he may go to hell. Because of this fear of hell the believer will attempt to please God by mouthing the most wonderful attributes possible. Is God good, neutral or evil in his actions? If he were to say anything but the highest possible good then he could cross this God and suffer for eternity.
Is God all-powerful? If he says anything but yes then again, he could find himself on the wrong side of this potential tyrant.
The same goes for other positive attributes such as omniscience, omnipresence, infinite, perfection, loving, righteous, just, wise etc. If it comes down to giving God a good or bad attribute the fearful will, without any thought to the contrary, give him the good one. If it comes down to giving God a little or a lot of this attribute the believer will unquestionably give him an infinite supply of it. He will unquestionably give all the power and goodness to God that he can imagine, never questioning whether or not it is true.
Again, he does not question because he fears what an offended God may do to him.
Let us raise above petty fears and be among the few to question the orthodox view of God. If this standard model of the loving all-powerful God were indeed true then the wars, the disasters, the pain and suffering that he idling sits back and let happen do not make sense. Why would a loving God, having all power, just sit back and watch the giant Tsunami destroy thousands of lives?
The non believers have a point when they say that if there were such a God then he must be cruel to just sit back and allow so much suffering.
The truth about God lies midway between the thoughts of the non believers and the believers, but it shouldn’t be such a great mystery for it is clearly revealed in the first chapter of the Bible. The scriptures tell us that God made us in his own image, or reflection.
What does this tell us about the true attributes of God?
It tells us that instead of naming them with our imagination out of fear, and looking upward we need to look inward. The true attributes of God are in us for we are reflections of God.
Did man have all power to stop the Tsunami? We readily admit that we do not.
Then does God have such power? No. not if he mirrors our own attributes.
The truth of the matter is this. God manifests through the life forms in which he has reflected himself, and only has as much power in this world as you and I are able to manifest.
On the positive side, the power of God is growing among his reflections and over a period of time all power will be gained by them, but until that time comes God is limited because we are limited.
God has manifested in this universe and is limited by the new circumstances with which he finds himself surrounded and will be limited until reflected lives like you and me do our part and solve all the problems facing us.
As you grow in power, wisdom and understanding, so does God as far as this reality is concerned.
“ACCIDENT, n. An inevitable occurrence due to the action of immutable natural laws.” Ambrose Bierce (1842 – 1914)
Jan 4, 2005
Copyright by J J Dewey
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