The God I Want

What if we made God in our own image? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

N.T. Wright has talked about finding a book in a secondhand bookstore that he didn’t buy, but the title was intriguing. He hopes there is no misrepresentation of the book, but it was called The God I Want. Wright states that God is not the God that we want. If He was, He would be quite different.

It’s an interesting thought exercise. I decided to think about the god that I want. I was thinking today that the omni qualities would still be there, but maybe not. What if God being all-knowing meant He did not give me something that I really wanted because He knew it wasn’t good for me? Would I be willing to have such a god to get what I want?

So if I was making this god, what would he be like? Well, this god would definitely care about my prayers. He would jump to whatever request I made and be ready to meet me. I would get to be the superhero in the drama of my life, my health would be great, I would be well-known in my field, I would have a photographic memory, and he would be honoring the requests of my wife as well, provided, you know, they fit in with my requests.

This god would assure me that I enjoy a good life. Odds are I wouldn’t have to wait for a return of Christ because this god would keep me alive and young and in great health. I thought more and more about this god and realized something.

I would not be wanting to serve this god. This god would be serving me. This god would not be an object of worship. He would be a personal butler. Ultimately, this god is not god. He makes me god.

So what do I learn from this exercise?

First, this doesn’t reveal hardly a thing to me about God. Instead, it reveals a lot about myself. It also reveals a lot of things I don’t like about myself. I don’t see anything about other people so much as I do about myself. This is also our nature. Consider a movie like Bruce Almighty. When Bruce gets the power of God, he focuses on his own wants and doesn’t care about all the prayers of the other people.

Second, if Christianity were something we were making up, this is the kind of god we would likely make up. Who would really want to make up a god like YHWH? Yep. Guys would love to make up a deity that tells them they need to give of themselves and love as Christ loved the church and maintain a sexual relationship with only one woman. We would make a God who would tell us to give some of our hard-earned money and esteem others better than ourselves.

Third, it reminds me that we don’t need to go to our feelings and experiences to find out who God is. That is where we usually go. It doesn’t work. We judge God by our own subjectiveness instead of His objective revelation in Scripture, Christ, and the world around us.

Ultimately, if we had the god that I wanted, perhaps I would be happy, but most everyone else would be miserable. God may not be the God that I want. In many ways, He isn’t because of my fallen sinfulness, but He sure is the God that I need.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

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