How BIG is your God?

Whenever I have conversations with friends or family members (be they lay or ordained) about how God views the world, and in return how we are to view the world,  I find that our differences in opinion often come down to our perception of how enormous God is.    I work under the assumption that I can never fully grasp the mind of God.  No matter how much I may study the Bible, theology, and whatever writings I can find about the divine,   God is simply too big, too alien, too other to truly understand. Every new author offers new insight. Eery new experience offers new knowledge. Every shared story brings affirmation that my God is a God that is too big to be boxed in and simply defies definition.

It is this acceptance of the enormity of God that allows me to be a little less worried about defending the rightness of my faith.  I claim Jesus Christ as my savior, and I do my best to be Chris-like.  However, I tend not to be overly concerned about converting others to my faith.  I do believe faith is necessary, and I do believe that the God I love is very real.  However, I do not find it necessary to try to convert others to my faith.  For one thing, I cannot convert another person to my faith.  Conversion is an individual’s decision. Each individual is solely responsible for that choice.  Though God offers the grace necessary for each of us to claim faith in God,  God does not convert people to Christianity.  God my lead and call, but the act of conversion is solely the decision and action of the individual.

Besides, I have found that most people do not respond well to being told that they MUST do something.  Forcing a choice is not a choice. Personally, I’d rather do my best to lead a Christ-like life and pray that it is enough to make others seek the divine.

Still, I am probably far more open than many of my peers who are Christian educators and ministers to the faith choices of others.  This openness is due in large part to my understanding of how very big God is.  I’ve tried several different ways of explaining this to others, and I think the best explanation I can offer is one I give to my students when they ask me if I think those of other faiths are going to hell.   My response tends to be, “I don’t know, and it is not my place to know.  An individual’s salvation is between the individual and God. ”  Then I try to explain how I envision how very BIG God is.

How big is your God?

I always envision God as a great big bonfire on the top of a hill.  The fire is bright and warm.  It sparkles and shines with logs blazing and coals softly glowing. The fire is so bright that it can be seen for miles around.   There are large numbers of people sitting around this fire.  Each person sees a slightly different version of God based upon where the person is sitting.  Those that are sitting close to the fire have a very clear vision of how bright and hot the fires is. They may even get burned.   However, because they are so close to the fire, they may not be able to see how very big the fire is. Their vision is limited by their proximity.  If they walk around the fire, they will see different aspects of the fire, but they will not be able to see how very big the fire is, unless they walk away from the fire. Those who are further away from the fire will see and experience the fire in a different way.  The fires light will not be as bright, the heat will not be as hot, and the details of the embers will be missed. This more distant view is not wrong, it simply is not as detailed.  Some are content to stay further away, while others wish to come in close.   Regardless of where one is in relation to the fire, be that right next to the fire or on a distant hill, the nature of the fire does not change, but the nature of our perception of the fire changes.   Such is the nature of the various religions of the world.  Those that are closer to the fire share particular experiences  (there is only one God, though God has many aspects).  Those that are further away share more generalities (love God, Love your neighbor, love yourself, respect the gifts God has given us.) Regardless, God is God, and we are not adequately able to describe or comprehend the true enormity of God.

Personally, I take comfort in a BIG God, if for no other reason than because a BIG God is bigger than any problem I might have and is big enough to forgive my limited understanding. .

So, how BIG is your God?


~ by sideseat on November 23, 2009.

One Response to “How BIG is your God?”

  1. I am always troubled when I see statements, comments or questions which ask “How Big is your God” or “My God is better than your God”! In the case of your blog, the answer is more important than the question. That is rare. Almost always the right question is better than the answer! Mel, you pricked my interest!Your answer is correct in that faith or lack of faith is a personal decision. If one chooses faith, the way you live out that faith is evangelism in the proper context! I have always wondered why some feel like confrotation, stupid cliches and dumb ass bible tracks are the way to “reach” the so-called lost!

    I don’t have to spend too much time in the Gospels to find how Jesus evangelized! He met people in their needs and met those needs! I close with a question and maybe an answer: Who did Jesus have confrontaions with? The self-righteous, hypocritical, or sanctimonious persons of his day. Can you think of any today?
    I sense that Jesus is put to death every day by those who cannot hear or see the true gospel of Jesus Christ!

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