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Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them (Gen 1:26-27).
For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God (James 3:7-9).
And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth and upon every bird of the heavens, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea. Into your hand they are delivered. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man. “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image. And you, be fruitful and multiply, increase greatly on the earth and multiply in it” (Gen 9:1-7).
“God is an old, bearded man in the clouds wearing boxer shorts if you really want.” The words of my college advanced writing professor. She didn’t say them to be mean. She was a universalist: God is whoever you want him to be, or not be, if you want.
All the time you hear things like this. It’s something you’re taught all the time.
“People created religion as a means of control.”
“People created religion to make sense of what’s going on, and they created the gods to be like them.”
There’s even a famous sci-fi short story where humanity creates the ultimate super-computer, able to answer absolutely anything immediately. They ask it, “Is there a God?” The computer answers, “There is now.”
The message everyone is taught is: you create God.
But that is just not what God has to say about Himself. It’s not at all what we believe.
We don’t worship an anthropomorphic God; we worship a God who created a theomorphic humanity, a humanity in His own image.
(For those who know Christian theology really well, I’m not promoting the heresy of theomorphism. In short, that’s the belief that the nature of the Son changed when he took on human form, no longer being God, and the related belief that humans can become gods, like the Mormons believe)
This is, in the end, a major focus of what we have to do as we grow into God’s righteousness: dumping our anthropomorphizing baggage toward God. How you view God is greatly influenced by your own baggage: your relationship with your parents, your relationship with authority figures, your relationship with your friends, and so on.
You hear—and sometimes believe—these things all the time.
“God can’t forgive me for what I did. I’ve done too much.” That’s not God; that’s someone else.
“God’s just this mean old man up in the clouds who likes torturing us.” That’s not God; that’s someone else.
Or “God is too big to care what I do. There’s no way he wouldn’t let me do what I want.” That’s not God; that’s someone else.
Or “God is love, so he doesn’t care what I do. He doesn’t really think it’s wrong. Just be true to yourself.”
Again: That’s not God; that’s someone else.
This is your continual struggle: rooting out the lies about God from your own mind. You say, “God, I want to be like this, but I just keep failing!”
Maybe the reason you fail to grow closer to God is because you have a lie in your head about who He truly is that’s keeping you back.
I’ve always struggled a lot with taking time to consistently and intimately pray with God. And this is the reason: because I don’t have that kind of relationship with… anyone. As I’ve said before, the message I got from my parents and my brothers as a teenager was that I was just not wanted. It wasn’t true, but that was what I believed. And I’ve struggled all my life with really, honestly believing that people actually care about me.
That perverts my view of myself, but more importantly, it perverts my view of God. Because I know with my head that God is eager to spend time with me. But it’s not internalized yet.
This week, when you find yourself saying, “I wish I could do _______ for you, God!” or “I wish I could be like _____, God!” or “God, you can’t do ______ for me!” ask yourself, is this coming from a true knowledge of God, or is it you projecting something human onto Him? Is it baggage getting in your way?
Get rid of that baggage. Let it go and worship God in Spirit and in Truth.