I always think out these theological arguments when I jog. It usually starts with seeing buff men and women out there on the gym floor pumping iron while I run like an uncoordinated giraffe on the treadmill.
When I look out on a crowd of people, especially people working hard to achieve some level of physical fitness or strength, I think about the fact that we are made in the image of God. I think about what C.S. Lewis said, “It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare.” And what the Psalmist wrote, “I said, ‘You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you; nevertheless, like men you shall die, and fall like any prince.’” (Psalm 82:6-7).
It’s part of what I believe that shapes how I view and interact with people. I tremble sometimes when I look around and think about the souls all around me. And when I walk a bent over 90 plus year old woman to the bathroom at work I think about the fact that she was once 16 and 21 and 42 and has a whole story. She’s a creature of God! She’s an immortal soul created in the image of God for the purpose of resonating his wonder through her life. Even as she hobbles to the bathroom.
I look at all those bodies trying really hard to get bigger and be stronger and look sexier and I think, “We’re all gods!”. We’ve been given so much power and dominion and bear the image of God. We are not God, yet we act like gods all the time. Deciding what’s right and wrong. Making rules and enforcing them. Declaring what’s just and unjust. Creating amazing works of art, science, structure and food. We champion causes and teach our children what we believe they should and shouldn’t do. And yet we deny that there is a God and declare that we are merely random results of time and matter. We are gods declaring there is no God. We are broken, confused, evil gods that, at times (by the common grace of God), do good.
We don’t want there to be a God because the want to be the gods we deny that we are.
I heard a story on the radio of a woman who was angrily calling into a debate where she declared that the whole agenda of the debate was to deny her the right, as a woman, to do with what she willed the life of the baby growing inside her. She carried on in her rant against the debaters questioning what kind of a God would take away the innocent lives of people in an earthquake or natural disaster. And one debater asked the lady if she would answer him this one thing: How can you declare any notion of a God who would take a life in a natural disaster an evil God while at the same time declaring your right to take the life of the child growing inside you as right and just?
We are insane gods. We declare what’s wrong is right and what’s right is wrong. We claim for ourselves the right to the power we declare would be wrong for a perfect, loving, holy, pure God to have.
I don’t understand a lot of things about God. I don’t see why. But I know this: I am not able to see or understand and therefore I have no right to claim I know better. I would much rather come under the judgement and mercy of a perfect God than to align myself with the twisted reasoning and declarations of an imperfect human being.