Profane Humanization

It’s been well said: If God doesn’t seem strange to us, then that ought to seem strange to us. We should be suspicious if the reality of who and what God Almighty is doesn’t seem challenging, puzzling, or frustrating to us. However, we mere mortals have an insecure psychological craving for the Lord Most High to be down a little lower and a bit more “relatable” — more like ourselves in a give-and-take relationship of equals.

Ever since God made man in his own image, man has been trying to remake God in his own image. Humanity was first tempted to be like God, and since that first failure and fall, humanity is tempted to see God as being like humanity (or worse). We trade the truth of God for the lies of idols; we worship and serve lowly creatures of every sort as we dismiss and flee the glorious Creator who alone is God and Lord.

And alas, not even God’s own chosen and called out people are entirely free from this silly tendency to turn reality upside down. Nothing short of the resurrection from the dead and the renewal of all things in the Regeneration will remedy this malady in we redeemed sinners. O Lord, come quickly and deliver us!

The faithful rightly want to pursue the Lord, to draw near to him and delight in him. But we, quite understandably, fall prey to conceiving our fellowship and intimacy with him as essentially the same as the relationships we have with our fellow humans with God only being quantitatively ‘bigger’ than us rather than qualitatively ‘other’ than us. In doing so, we cast aside many of the “uncomfortable” truths which the one true and living God has revealed about who and what he is. Examples abound.

We struggle with divine holiness and divine righteousness for the sake of a distorted view of divine goodness in which God is lenient or casual about sin.

We wrestle with divine incomprehensibility for the sake of a false comfort in thinking we can really fully know and wrap our minds around God — “putting God in a box” as the old saying goes.

We mope over divine aseity for the sake of wanting to truly offer God something he doesn’t already have, or worse, we want to put God in our debt.

We strive against divine liberty and divine sovereignty, because we want to believe we are truly in control of our lives and circumstances — little gods in our own right with autonomous wills that are free from the constraints of creatureliness.

We’re chafed by divine immutability and divine familiarity, since we want to believe God knows what it’s like to “really experience life” — to struggle and grow as a person just like we do each day and each season.

We willfully ignore divine simplicity so that we can mutate God who is one Substance with one mind and one will in three Self-Relations into a social composite like a family or a committee — projecting human relational structures into the Trinitarian nature of God and separating the operations of the Three into mutually harmonious agreement.

One prominent thread running through various forms of rejecting elements of God’s self-revelation is the pathetic absurdity of maligning one attribute of God for the sake of championing another attribute of God — turning God against himself in our hearts.

We do these things, because we want to make God more “relatable” to us — easier to approach and trust. However, this really ends up making God less approachable and certainly less trustworthy by bringing him down to something less than who he is and what he is. He becomes more like us. That’s not a comforting thing for him to be to us as much as it might seem to be at first. In truth, many of these insecure psychological needs could be properly and comfortingly answered if we just looked to Christ — to the one who is both God and Man, bridging that otherwise infinite gulf. God has already approached us and related to us from the beginning and chiefly in Christ. We lack the prerogative and the power to approach God and relate to him fruitfully according to the methods and structures we would choose.

All of these and more are instances of us not loving God with all of our mind and all of our heart. We must repent — every day and every hour and every minute if need be — of our humanizing of God. We must think rightly of him and speak rightly of him. We are indeed made in the image and the likeness of God. Nevertheless, God is also very much not like us. And thank God he is not!

Be still and know that he is God indeed.

Psalm 46:10