“If I were God…”
For some people “God” is an unreasonable concept.
For many men, the existence of “God” is just as unfathomable as the reason why women go to the toilet in groups. For many women, “God” is as incomprehensible as men’s ability to think about precisely nothing.
Christians don’t only believe in God’s existence. We actually believe that God has made himself known to humanity.
Again, this is a concept that many struggle to come to terms with. How has God made himself known?
As a Christian I could all give the usual answers of “through Jesus”, “through the Bible” and “through creation”.
But sometimes I wonder if God has made himself known in other ways. Before long, I’m wondering, “If I were God, how I would make myself known?”
“Would I put a neon sign in the sky? Would I answer everyone’s prayers, all the time?”
Clearly there is great danger hidden among these four small words of, “If I were God…” Human beings are not like God. For God to refer to himself as “holy” literally means “other”. God is not like us. He doesn’t always behave in ways we would expect.
Because of this, some outcomes to my thought experiment (including “If I were God I’d give everyone free ice cream”) fall very wide of the mark.
Others make a little more sense, and are helpful at least to me. See if you agree…
Let’s take the notoriously difficult issue of The Trinity.
If God really is three in one how could he communicate this to us in a way we would understand?
If I were God, I wouldn’t give a theological essay explaining that I am “three divine hypostases distinct yet one in substance,” I’d put it another way.
“I am love”.
If I were God I’d choose this language of love to describe myself.
Love is a verb. It’s an action. Like any action, love only makes sense when there’s more than one party involved. (This is why playing a game of chess against yourself isn’t much fun. The action/verb of ‘to play’ or ‘to love’ is best expressed in community.)
If I were God I wouldn’t say “I am loving” or “I have the capacity to show love”. I would say “I AM love”. Within the three persons of myself I am constantly giving and receiving love.
And so…If I were God I wouldn’t need to create humanity because love is already existing within myself in the three persons of the trinity.
But if I were God I would still choose to create other beings who like myself could give, receive and feel real love. If I were God I’d create humanity because humanity has the potential to let love flourish. If I were God I’d make sure love would exist. I’d want to shout from the rooftops that, “Love is not an accident! It’s a vital part of my creation. And it shows the world that a loving God really does exist.”
For me, the idea of God being love and God being three in one complement each other beautifully.
In any relationship, empathy is vital. Seeking to understand the other person’s point of view is always important. At times this will be impossible, but making the effort is vital.
In the same way, we will never know or understand the mind of God. But seeking to understand how He works in the world is important. This activity of trying to understand God is commonly referred to as ‘theology’ – the study of God. Participating in theology is part of Christian worship (the Bible commands us to love God with our minds).
As part of our theology / “study of God” we must try to understand the thoughts and feelings of the Creator. But when this becomes impossible and our theology fails us, we find another reason to worship a God who despite being so different to human beings, loves us anyway.