Why is God Relevant?: A Primer

God’s identity refers to the character of God, His personhood, and His various characteristics. God is tri-personal, meaning that He is three persons in one being, or three ‘whos’ and one ‘what’. But one might ask, why should I care what type of being God is. That is a great question, and here is a preliminary answer.

First, since we are Image-Bearer’s of God, God’s identity is relevant for our own identities as we are His reflective creations. Just as a 2-dimensional mirror-image is like the 3-dimensional object that reflects in the mirror, so we are like God in some relevant ways. We are less than God, certainly…but there is something about us that is only answered by looking at God. What are these similarities precisely? This is a question for another time. But there is much to discuss before we get to this question. For now, this is a good account of the reflective relationship between man and his God:

We are mirrors whose brightness, if we are bright, is wholly derived from the sun that shines upon us” CS Lewis

So, understanding God’s relationship to you sheds light onto who you are, your purpose, and why you struggle after apparently impossible things, like justice, peace, immortality, and unconditional love. We are meant to be more than this world. The relationship we have with God determines many aspects of our life, our virtue, our wisdom, and our vocation(s). Who God is, this determines who you are because you are made in the Image of God. Just as the light of the moon gets its light from the sun, the sun is relevant to the moon’s light, since it is derived from the sun.

Next, God’s identity informs the context of God’s incarnation in Jesus Christ, our Savior. Knowing God’s identity, and understanding God’s relationship to you provides the back-story for the reason why we need a savior, and why we have a savior. That is to say, part of God’s identity, that He has revealed to us, is that He loves us and wants us to be perfect: this explains why He set-up perfect standards and why He would suffer and die on the cross to raise us to perfection. We needed a savior because God’s standards could not be met by us. We have a savior because God is love, and would incarnate Himself in Jesus Christ so that we may be perfected through Christ’s sacrifice.

So, who God is determines our understanding of our own identities and His relationship to you and me objectively, as God’s nature precedes our nature because our nature is a reflection of God’s nature.

Popular Nonsense

First falsehood: God is an anthropomorphism, such that, He is a psychological manifestation stemming from a deep-seated desire for a father figure (a la Freud, and Nietzche). However, the God of the Bible doesn’t conform to human behavior. God doesn’t solve the superficial problems that we want to be solved. The Christian God is not anthropomorphic.

Second Falsehood: God is bound by human morality and is subject to our anthropomorphic idea about Him (a false belief about His nature).

Human righteousness is a function of our nature as Image-bearers of God, which means that we have a specific nature and purpose. We are limited creatures within a larger plan. We struggle and live life within this larger plan. Our decisions are morally evaluable according to our design and our limitations of knowledge. However, God does not have a design to live up to as we do. Nor does He work in ignorance about making decisions that may or may not fall in line with the greater plan. Therefore, His commands and decisions in this world are not susceptible to our terribly oblique, imperfect, and woefully unequipped judgments. To judge God as if He were a person like a human being–just and only like us– is to commit yourself to a gratuitous anthropomorphism.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2019 Steve Byerly

Author: TheCommoner

I am a philosopher that is interested in what makes life worth living, what is worth pursuing, and how we can learn from the past. I believe that good philosophy benefits everyone and that there should be philosophers that present philosophy to those outside of the academy.