This world has nothing for me, and this world has everything.
All that I could want and nothing that I need.
– “This World”, Caedmon’s Call
There are people who reject that God exists because they say he is merely a construct of what humans expect.
There are people who reject that God exists because it is contrary to what they have already decided, independently, is “right” and “good.”
Today I realized that those two sets of people can be the same people. Bit of a contradiction there.
Granted, I believe that there are false gods who are both. The sin/hellfire/damnation God who has no room for mercy and metes out his favor to humans according to some interminable list of rules is beloved by the self-righteous and is no God I would worship. Likewise, the nebulous Divinity with no real personhood and an “as long as you’re happy and nice to people” directive appeals to those who want to be left alone, and seems more an entity to tip my hat to rather than follow zealously.
But to say there can’t be any God because of that?
No god based on what we want could satisfy. Partially because we don’t know what we want. Partially because what we want can be twisted or misaimed. Partially because we can want wrong things, or right things for the wrong reasons. But if I am not perfect, then I must admit that those desires that burn in my heart, those that paint in my mind such wonderful visions, those that may well be born of love, or joy, or beauty, may have in them a tendril of something less savory, and their fulfillment is no guarantee of happiness.
And if there is a god independent of us, then there can be no guarantee that he would approve of everything we do or believe. But if I am not perfect, though I may build a great tower of beliefs and doctrines and theologies, founded on fact and good reason, there will be some, somewhere, that is wrong. Whether it be from ignorance or pride or misinterpretation, the result is the same. I believe what I believe, and I believe all that I believe, but at some point, something will be proved otherwise.
Which leaves me standing before my God and wondering… what parts do I think are him that, in truth, are me? Or are there times I imagine that he could not possibly do what he says he will because it is merely what we desire, that he must be more “mysterious” than that?
Either construct is wrong. Either construct is so, so tempting.
This is why we have Scripture, to be our foundation, our baseline, our canon. This is why we have each other, to serve as different windows, different lenses to the same truth. This is why we have his Spirit, to speak to us directly, as the mother who stands in the maelstrom, interpreting the chaos so we can see order.
God is what we could never, ever, expect. And he is exactly what we need.