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October 15, 2007 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

CounterPoint With Christian Union: “God”

Wouldn’t it be great if you could ask God whatever you wanted, and find out what the deal was with… everything? If all your questions and doubts about Him could be settled in one conversation? That tends to be the way we think when we’re trying to get to know who a person really is—we spend time with them, ask them questions, and eventually build up a picture of who that person is.

The Bible provides a rich understanding of what God is like. I believe that it is a convincing understanding; in fact, I believe that the Christian faith is more convincing than the All Blacks’ win over Portugal. I also believe that it can stand up to even the toughest questions. I believe that the Bible’s message is true, and that through carefully studying it, we can get a glimpse of what God is really like.

The second edition of the Oxford American Dictionary describes God like this: “the creator and ruler of the universe, the source of all moral authority; the supreme being.” Some people think of God as a being who is all-knowing, all-seeing, but very far away. Other people see God as some kind of abstract power – “May the Force be with you.”

However – God is not merely a concept or force; he is personal. He intervenes in our world, at both a personal and collective level, whether it’s obvious or not. Bruce Almighty depicts God as a PC cross between Bill Cosby and Houdini – but God is so far beyond any concept that we can cook up. Trying to describe God, when it comes down to it, is like trying to describe the colour red to someone who can’t see. Paul, one of the leaders of the early Church, thought so too:

We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompleteness will be canceled. We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us The Bible, 1 Corinthians 13:9-10, 12, The Message.

So how do we describe God? Doesn’t it seem laughable, trying to describe this infinite being when we can’t even see Him? The universe is also incredibly vast and complex – yet we endeavour, sometimes successfully, to understand it. In doing so, we begin to understand the intelligence and sheer magnitude of God. Only an intelligent and powerful being is capable of creating our cosmos, and the only being capable of ruling this it is one with supreme intelligence and power.

However, God is not merely powerful and infinite – He also possesses a character. But if we can’t catch up with God over coffee, how can we know what this is? Luckily for us, the Bible is not the Edmond’s Cook Book on steroids, merely giving a list of impersonal attributes.

It demonstrates God’s character — how He does things. It tells us that God is the epitome (perfection) of love, and captures this in its portrayal of the hero of the Bible, Jesus Christ. It also shows us that God is perfectly good, and completely fair.

Throughout history and even today, God has been involved in his creation. While in Thailand, I encountered examples of God acting in miraculous ways, a phrase which I don’t use lightly, or unthinkingly. But God is not just involved in the overt, miraculous events. He is also interested in our lives. We recognise this fact in the the life the Jesus led, and in the way that God brought him back to life as a sign that we can be brought back into a right relationship with Him.

Many people have an image of a spiteful, smiting God. Others see God as irrelevant or distant – others think that God doesn’t exist at all. These are the images of God you see bandied around in popular media, but they’re often based on an incomplete understanding of who God is. God is real, He is here, and He is active. Whatever you believe about God, it is important to consider what you base these beliefs on. God is one person you don’t want to be wrong about. Although we’re not promised an easy life through knowing God, we are promised hope, love and true freedom.

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About the Author ()

Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

Comments (4)

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  1. Random says:

    This article demands a response from the reasonable, for starters the very concept that the bible or faith in Christ and god can stand up to any level of questioning over looks the fact that faith is about not questioning. And it has been proven many a time that no religion especially the Judeo Christian ones (yes there are literally hundreds) can withstand intense scrutiny the bible contradicts itself when it give two different creation stories right in the first chapter Genesis. If you need to see where the bible contradicts itself for your self just read it cover to cover, don’t skip any parts at all, but if your lazy just do a google search you will quickly find that many people have taken the time to actually point out these inconsistencies for you. As Penn Jillette from Penn and Teller said “there is no faster way to atheism than reading the damn bible” also look up Richard Dawkins or Sam Harris.
    oh and try this link on Richard Dawkins description of the Judeo Christian god.

  2. Jade says:

    There is a series of books called Conversations With God that is pretty much questioning God on all the major topics. You can get them in Whitcoulls. I think you may find them very interesting!

  3. Random says:

    Which God would that be? Zeus?, Jupiter?, Thor?, Buddha?, Cthulu?, the Flying Spaghetti Monster? seriously, besides that the book is written by humans not a god it is nothing more than the opinions of delusional people who don’t grasp the concept that there needs to be real evidence of a god before it can be called fact and that a conversation implies that you get a real linguistic response, so far all those who have “talked to god” are either fictional characters or nutters.
    Another point how can we have true freedom if we are to be bound by the arbitrary rules of some fictional deity who cannot seem to handle even the slightest criticism.
    Morality comes from people not religions, as has been quoted many times “good people do good things and bad people do bad things, but for good people to do bad things that requires religion”

  4. ddd says:

    Steve seems a little confused about the whole counterpoint thing – did this section EVER raise ANY counterpoint, with the exception of Prof. Morris?

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