Which god? God or god?
“Thou shalt have no other god before me.” (Exodus 20:3 KJV)
March 10, 2012
Every month there are people who end up at this site looking for answers to questions like these two:
What does God want?
Does God cry when we die?
These are people that believe that at least God is here -
but maybe wondering whether he still cares.
There are also times when people are searching for the exact two questions that this section is all about:
Is God still here?
Does God still care?
From the way the questions were worded -
there's still a belief that, at least at some point, God must have existed.
If one is asking "Does God
then there's an assumption that He did exist -
at least at some point -
and the question is whether or not He still does.
Where is God?
It's not just coincidence that this question came to my mind now.
In the Screwtape Letters study that we're doing now, we just went over Letter #18. In that letter, Screwtape -
The whole philosophy of Hell rests on recognition of the axiom that one thing is not another thing, and, specially, that one self is not another self. My good is my good and your good is yours. What one gains another loses. Even an inanimate object is what it is by excluding all other objects from the space it occupies; if it expands, it does so by thrusting other objects aside or by absorbing them. A self does the same. With beasts the absorption takes the form of eating; for us, it means the sucking of will and freedom out of a weaker self into a stronger. ‘To be’ means ‘to be in competition’.
The key part of that, for purposes of this article is -
Even an inanimate object is what it is by excluding all other objects from the space it occupies; if it expands, it does so by thrusting other objects aside or by absorbing them. A self does the same.
Screwtape is assuming that we -
In some regards -
If we take two objects -
It's not possible for two people to occupy the exact same space either. If two people want to sit on the same chair -
Does He figure out how to exist in a different space from us -
I have to say right up front -
Let's see what the Bible says about this " where is God" question.
From Defending your Faith by Dan Story, we see the diagram below:
So God is omnipresent -
Let's see the references to omnipresent -
For God, The Father -
Jer 23:23 “Am I only a God nearby,”
declares the LORD,
“and not a God far away?
Jer 23:24 Can anyone hide in secret places
so that I cannot see him?”
declares the LORD.
“Do not I fill heaven and earth?”
declares the LORD.
For God, The Son -
Mt 28:16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
For God, The Holy Spirit -
Ps 139:7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
Ps 139:8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
Ps 139:9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
Ps 139:10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
This is all well and good for the person who has the understanding of what this is all about -
But then -
How do we simplify this but not lose the point and the meaning?
I think that Jesus answered this question of where is God in a simpler way -
God the Father -
In Matthew 6:9-
Mt 6:9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
“ ‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Notice the first line of this prayer -
At this time, Jesus didn't get into the details of how God is "three in one" -
If you're asking the question -
This may seem odd -
Jn 16:12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.
<More on this verse later>.
He was here on earth -
Jesus Appears to the Disciples
Lk 24:36 While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
Lk 24:37 They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”
Lk 24:40 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence.
Lk 24:44 He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”
Lk 24:45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
Lk 24:50 When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.
Notice the part about -
Take what Jesus has said here at face value for now.
God The Father is in Heaven.
God The Son (Jesus) was in Heaven -
This leaves God, The Holy Spirit.
Where is the Holy Spirit?
In John 14:15-
Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit
Jn 14:15 “If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”
Jn 14:22 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”
Jn 14:23 Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.
Jn 14:25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
Jn 14:28 “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on me, but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.
“Come now; let us leave.
Let's look at a couple of these statements in more detail -
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— the Spirit of truth.
On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.
On that day -
“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
we have God The Father -
we have God The Son -
we have the Counselor -
where is The Holy Spirit?
He's going to teach us and remind us -
Earlier this week I was reading an article while waiting in the doctor's office. It's from the April 2012 issue of Discover Magazine. (Yes -
The article starts off with -
Physicists routinely baffle reporters, but for once things went the other way. Alexander Gaeta was sitting in his Cornell University office in the fall of 2010 when a reporter called to ask his opinion of a strange new paper in the Journal of Optics. What did he think about the claim that it might be possible to create a time cloak, a device that could render events undetectable?
Gaeta was caught off guard. He was still grappling with the invisibility cloak, a wild idea that turned into reality in 2006, when physicists demonstrated that a class of synthetic materials could bend light completely around an object. (Think of water in a stream flowing around a rock.) Without light bouncing off the object, it would essentially disappear.
If we wonder about things like where is Heaven -
I guess the question comes down to -
With the inanimate objects -
With people -
But what about this spirit thing?
Defending Your Faith says the Holy Spirit is omnipresent -
Jesus said the Holy Spirit cannot be seen, but will be in us.
The article in Discover Magazine talks about how physicists are able to hide objects that most definitely exist -
If we can do that -
Our physicists know that there are gaps in the laws of science as we "know" them. Alternate dimensions and universes must exist, they say. That's the only thing that would explain why the current laws don't quite work -
I would think that at some point -
There is so much order to the universe.
There are so many unanswered questions.
There are so many gaps in our knowledge -
There is way too much order to just be random.
It has to be controlled -
Every time I read an article like this, I hope to see some mention of God.
Every time we learn something new -
learn more to fill in the gaps in our knowledge -
learn that things are even more complex and more ordered than we thought -
I keep hoping to see that God is seen as the guiding hand behind all of this.
Was it in this article?
Here's what they concluded with -
One can't help but wonder whether back robbers and terrorists could use the technology to conceal their activities. ... They'd be able to hide not only what they are doing but that they are doing anything at all.
I read that article and think of the possibility that we have yet another "law of nature" that was built in by God -
Rather than close with that thought -
The Work of the Holy Spirit
Jn 16:5 “Now I am going to him who sent me, yet none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ Because I have said these things, you are filled with grief. But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.
Let me repeat part of that -
But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.
In the words for the disciples -
After that -
If this is where you're at -
Take Jesus words the way they were given -
take the invitation for the Holy Spirit -
Then begin to understand the deeper issues.
As I said -
To say that would be to put God in a box -
It's merely to propose a possibility -
To say that God can't exists not only around us -
Jesus Himself tells us that there's more to know. He tells us that we will be guided on this journey by The Holy Spirit. Not that we will know it all -
Jn 16:12“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.
“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.
That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.
It's a great journey.
It's the ability to see what the greatest minds in science can come up with -
and then to use that to see how God is even that much greater than we can ever imagine.
Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
I believe that all these scientific advances just provide more and more evidence that the answer to both questions is the same.
Is God still here? -
Does God still care? -
Jesus asked His disciples one time -
Mark 8:18 Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear?
How are your eyes and ears?