Tuesday, February 11, 2020

God is Not an Impersonal ‘Force’

The old Baltimore Catechism asked this question: “Why did God make me?” And the answer was: “God made me to know Him, and to love Him, and to serve Him in this world; and to be happy with Him forever in the next world.”

That is simple enough that young children can memorize it, and at the same time so profound that theologians can write volumes about it. it’s a summary of why we exist. God created us to know Him and to be in a loving relationship with Him.

But it’s important that we don’t confuse knowing God with knowing about God. Here’s an example: Geno Aurriema. Maybe you’ve heard of him?
As a sports fan here in Connecticut, I know a lot about Geno, the all-time greatest head coach in women’s college basketball history. But I do I really know him?

Let me tell you the story of my amazing personal encounter with Geno. It was three years ago at the Travelers Championship, during the Wednesday Pro-Am event. Geno was playing in a group with Rebecca Lobo, and they hit their tee shots and then started walking up the fairway. Geno walked within about four feet of where I was standing. When he got right next to me, I yelled out, “Hey Geno! We love you, man!” You won’t believe what happened next. Geno paused for a moment, looked back toward one of his playing partners, and then walked right past me like I wasn’t even there. Pretty amazing, huh?

So, it’s rather clear that I do not have any kind of personal relationship with Geno. I know a lot about him, but I don’t really know him at all.

There are a lot of people who know a lot about God, but they don’t really know Him. And some of them, deep down, really don’t want to know Him. I call these folks “Star Wars Christians.” What I mean is, they embrace the concept of “The Force,” from the Star Wars movies. If you remember, The Force is a mysterious spiritual power that helps the Jedi Knights. The thing is, The Force is impersonal. These “Star Wars Christians” believe that God is an impersonal power, like The Force. He or it is just out there, somewhere, available to help us when we need it, but when we don’t need any help, we can ignore Him or it.
However, if we give it some serious thought, we discover that God must be personal. First, we know that human beings were created with the ability to communicate. That’s obvious. Next, we know that we humans were created with the ability to enter into loving relationships with other persons. We’ve been doing that all our lives with our family and friends.

Now, basic logic tells us that the created beings—we humans—cannot be greater than the Creator. We cannot possess certain skills and talents that the Creator doesn’t possess. That’s just common sense: the Creator has to be greater than the creature. This means if we have the ability to communicate and enter into loving relationships, then our Creator certainly must have these abilities, too.

Here’s the key question: what are the odds that the Creator, who has the ability to communicate and enter into relationships, would go to all the trouble to create us, creatures with these same abilities, and then choose not to communicate with us at all?

That makes no sense. The odds are zero. The only conclusion is that God can and does communicate with mankind. He is able to, and He wants to, enter in a personal relationship with each and every one of us.

It’s possible to know God, not just know about Him. That’s what He wants, that’s what our souls crave, and just like the Baltimore Catechism said, knowing God is the first step in fulfilling the reason God made us.
If you enjoy the Star Wars movies, that’s great. But don’t make the mistake of thinking God is like The Force. He is not impersonal. He knows us and He loves us, and most of all, He wants to be in a loving relationship with us. Obi-Wan Kenobi should’ve said, “May the Lord be with you.”

No comments:

Post a Comment