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July 26, 2012

We are used to hearing about the deity of God, the “wholly other”, the all-powerfulness of God. But when we try to describe what he is like, we use personal and human terms such as a compassionate God, a loving God, a God of justice, even an angry God, and of a God who speaks to us, who hears, sees, and touches us – words that we associate with the best that we experience in our human relationships. And that is natural, because our language is a human creation, and those are the only words we have to describe the highest of relationships – our relationship with God.

But we also are told that we are created in the image of God! That suggests that those highest human characteristics must belong to God as well. If God has these human characteristics – only more so – is it not appropriate to speak of “the humanity of God”, that part of God which includes the best and highest characteristics that we see in our own humanity?

And isn’t that what we see in Jesus – a human so full of concern for others, so quick to speak out for justice, so close to God that he called him Father – that we glimpse what it means to become fully human. And the only way we know to describe that is to say that God was in Jesus. We humans are still very early in our own evolutionary development. There is much in each of us from our evolutionary ancestors. Our animal instincts of hunger and survival are still very much embedded in our humanity. We have a long way to go to become fully human. Yet the God that we see in Jesus is also in each of us! Yes, those strong animal instincts often crowd him out – but that is our challenge. To strive to become fully human.

“So roll up your sleeves and put yourself in gear. . . Don’t lazily slip back into those old grooves of evil, doing just what you feel like doing. . . As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God’s life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness. God said, ‘I am holy; you are holy.’ You call out to God for help, and he helps – he’s a good Father that way. But don’t forget, he’s a responsible Father and won’t let you get by with sloppy living.”1 Peter 1:13-17 (Peterson)

“Trust steadily in God.
Hope unswervingly.
Love extravagantly.”
1 Corinthians 13:13 (Peterson)

“Know that I am in my Father,
and you in me,
and I in you.”
John 14:20 (NRSV)

Loren Bullock
November 18, 2011

From → God

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