“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Somehow I think that we have a tendency to look at God as something of a big one of us. That God is a kind of god who gets us through the problems and puzzle of life into something much better. This is not an easy post to think through because we are made in God’s image, and God became flesh, that is entirely human in the incarnation of the Son through whom human beings are being restored to something of the fullness of God’s image. To really even begin to understand God, then, we have to start by looking at Jesus. And then we read the rest of the Bible through that view, in other words a Christo-centric reading. We need to both read scripture as it is, but ultimately, since it finds its main point in Christ, we have to read it in terms of that main point.
But even when we read the gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John– we have to be careful not to ignore the difficult parts, the parts we may not track well with even while we remember that in Jesus, the goal of God’s kingdom has arrived and is being worked out now, beginning in the church to be completed and someday to cover the entire earth in the new creation when the salvation Jesus completed fills all things.
But the main point I want to try to look at today is that God is not a big human, that God can’t be pinned down by us, even though somehow we are made for God. What must not be lost in this is that God is love and made known in Jesus. But also what can’t be lost is that God is simply not a big one of us, the best of the best of what humans are, whatever that might be. Jesus brings in the full humanity, but humans remain humans forever, just as God is God forever.
God’s ways and thoughts are unlike ours, not only because of the reality of our sin, but also because we are limited. And our limitations are not just in terms of not being able to see what is completely human as creation intended it, or the goal of humanity, but also our failure to see God in God’s entirety to the very heights and depths of God. What we are given in Jesus and from scripture is enough for us. But in what is given, we have to accept what we’ll end up accepting forever: that we can never plumb the depths of God. In a sense we can never even plumb the depths of humanity, so all the more true when we’re considering God.
Again, we need to turn back to the Bible and open its pages and patiently over time plod our way through and keep doing so again and again. Learing to accept what is given to us, as well as accept that there are hidden things that belong to God (Deuteronomy 29:29). As we learn to trust God with our lives, as well as the lives of others, yes even of the world.