The God You Need

The LORD created the heavens.  He is the God who formed the earth and made it.
Isaiah 45:18 (NCV)

You don’’t need what Dorothy found. Remember her discovery in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz? She and her trio followed the yellow-brick road only to discover that the wizard was a wimp!  Nothing but smoke and mirrors and tin-drum thunder. Is that the kind of god you need?

You don’t need to carry the burden of a lesser god: a god on a shelf, a god in a box, or a god in a bottle. No, you need a God who can place 100 billion stars in our galaxy and 100 billion galaxies in the universe. You need a God who can shape two fists of flesh into 75 to 100 billion nerve cells, each with as many as 10,000 connections to other nerve cells, place it in a skull, and call it a brain.

And you need a God who, while so mind-numbingly mighty, can come in the soft of the night and touch you with the tenderness of an April snow.

—Max Lucado, Traveling Light, 16

Far and Near

The prophets and the apostles believe more deeply in God’s transcendence of and independence from the world than the most ardent deists and more deeply in God’s immanence than the most ardent pantheists. No religion faces, welcomes, and proclaims this paradox as does the Christian faith. No religion is more convinced simultaneously of God’s radical difference from creatures and God’s radical identification with them.

—Michael Horton, Pilgrim Theology: Core Doctrines for Christian Disciples, 30

Emmanuel! (11)

Traditional worship, with its emphasis on hymns, creeds, and stained-glass windows, makes God remote. Contemporary worship, with its casual “bring your coffee to worship and slap your neighbor on the back as you sing, shout and sway with your hands in the air,” makes God too common.

Remote does not make God transcendent. Familiarity does not make God present. Have we demystified both transcendence and immanence? . . .

Consider this theological thought: Christianity is a faith of paradox.

The key paradox to all paradoxes is the Incarnation. We confess Jesus to be the God-Man. Both. Not one or the other, but both. We can stress his deity to the point of forgetting his humanity. We can focus on His humanity to the point of denying His divinity.

The truth of the Incarnation is not an either/or but a both/and. The same is true for transcendence and immanence. When transcendence and immanence are brought together, God is present; it’s a true divine-human encounter.

—Robert Webber, Ancient-Future Worship (email, 10/29/03)