Friday, February 26, 2021

God's Hands

In the grand scheme of things, does it matter if God has hands? Does it matter if He used a literal finger to write the Ten Commandments onto tablets? Does it matter if He simply dictated them and Moses actually did the writing?

Probably not. To be honest with you, I can't really think of a significant theological difference that such a thing makes. 

What I'm concerned about is the bigger problem here. Namely, what I'm talking about is a group of 'educated' theologians who take it upon themselves to step in at the very second that someone, a lay person, might think they are finally starting to grasp this whole "God-thing" and tell them no, they are wrong. 

What you think about God is wrong. What you think you're finally understanding about God is wrong. Not only is it wrong, it's heretical. It's sinful. It's so wrong and backwards that what you think you're understanding about God and is drawing you near to Him is actually pushing you away and you're so naive and uneducated and foolish that you don't even see it yet. 

We have persons around us who love to do this sort of thing in all walks of life. They just sit there, ready to pounce the very moment you think you're finally breaking a chain free. At the very second you start to understand something, when it starts to finally make sense to you enough that you can wrap something around it, they step in to tell you not only why you're wrong, but why you're further away than you think. 

We simply can't tolerate this when it comes to God, particularly when it comes to things that do not make a theological difference at all. So what if you're sitting in your house and it makes sense to you that God would write something with a hand? That's how we write, isn't it? When we call into question whether or not God had actual, physical hands, we call into question what it means to 'write.' And when we call that into question, we call into question what it means to 'speak' because we know that God spoke the words to Moses that He wrote on the tablets. And on and on and on it goes. And now, what are we supposed to think about anything at all, if we should not be allowed to think, even for a second, that God had hands? 

So then, to say that these things don't make a theological difference is really only a half-truth. When we call them into question, they make a big theological difference. If you take away a man's most basic understanding of something, you make him question his understanding of everything. If you cannot know what it means to say that 'God wrote,' when writing is such a common human experience, then how can you ever possibly understand anything about 'God' at all? If you got the most basic thing wrong, what else are you getting wrong? 

That's why we can't do this. That's why we can't allow this. We cannot let 'experts' tell us how wrong we're getting it on the little things that don't matter. We can't let them step in at the moment that we start to understand and tell us we're mistaken. Just let us understand 'God wrote,' knowing that none of us knows what the actual form of this God is but that to have a conception, a mental conception, of His presence is far better than to not have one. 

Because our God, this God we love? He has promised that He is knowable. He has promised that He is present and near us and that we can recognize and understand Him. He has gone out of His way throughout His entire story to reveal Himself. And if a little word like 'hand' or 'finger' makes this God more knowable to someone, makes this God nearer to someone, gives someone what they need to let their hearts wrap around this God, then let it be. If it's not accurate or not historically accurate or not specifically revealed or known, who cares? If it draws someone into the knowable-ness of God and encourages them to encounter more of Him, lets them make sense of more of Him, then on something so theologically null as this, let it be. 

(Especially, we must add, because you don't know, either. You don't know that God doesn't have hands like a human has hands. You're just afraid that someone might form an image of Him in their heads and let their worship go astray. But what if...what if they form an image of Him in their hearts and draw into Him? Just let it be.)

That's why it matters, I guess. At least, to me. Because I don't ever want to discourage someone from thinking that God is knowable. For He is. He's told us He is, and He's shown us He is. If He has a hand or doesn't have a hand or has a hand with seventeen fingers on it, I don't care. If thinking of God's hand helps you to believe that you can understand and know this God, then hold onto that. It's fine. No matter what anyone says. 

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