I’ve been reading (and sometimes participating) in a blog produced by a “Christian.” I put that in quotes because she is not your regular dyed-in-the-wool, hellfire and damnation believer. While she tends to follow along with most mainline Christian beliefs (resurrection and salvation by Jesus), there are several indications she can think for herself, which it seems many (most?) believers fail to do. On more than one occasion, she has expressed her disagreement with the standard fare offered by the church.
Nevertheless, having said that, the undercurrent that tends to run through the minds of most believers is still there, i.e, God is a good guy. Maybe not always nice, but deep down, a genuinely decent bloke. Any “bad things” he does are really just for our own good.
In one of her recent postings (Can God Feel Regret? Genesis 6:6), she makes this statement:
God knew before he made the world that Adam’s line would become corrupt and that he would have to destroy them because of how corrupt they would become.
She goes on to say:
He felt regret and was grieved … he does not just sit outside of time unmoved …
Now I will give this blogger credit because she adds:
Many theologians have asserted that God, because he is infallible, cannot feel emotions such as regret or sorrow. They say that places in the Bible like Genesis 6:6 are examples of anthropomorphism. (emphasis mine)
I think those theologians are spot-on!
Think about it. Even in the very beginning, the writers of the Good Book gave God human traits (God saw that it was good, God rested, God spoke, God cursed, etc.).
But this is not surprising. How else could the ancients describe this One who is claimed to be omnipotent (having unlimited power), omnipresent (present everywhere at once), and omniscient (all-knowing)? Such attributes describe a being that is far beyond human experience. Thus, in order to make this God acceptable to human understanding, “He” must become like us!
That’s why it’s easy for this blogger (and others) to say that God knew this or that was going to happen so “He” took this or that action. This is totally human reasoning. Action A brought on Action B … or C … or whatever. But for this blogger, this is all because “God built cause and effect into the world.”
Have you ever considered why Christians position their God on a throne (literally and figuratively)? It seems obvious to me this elevates “Him” to a level above everyday human goings-on. Thus, when “He” does things that are distasteful to human nature, “He” can be excused due to “His” sovereign position. It’s never because it’s something that we, in reality, might do ourselves under similar circumstances (but that we would not want to admit).
When push comes to shove, there can be little doubt that God is US. While many may prefer to think “He” is an ethereal being that exists for our spiritual benefit, in the real world, the only “God” that exists is the one we create in our minds. And the way we treat each other has remarkable similarities to the way God treats individuals in the bible …
We get angry. We kill. We love. We show compassion. We forgive. We hate. We even die for each other.
And yes … we “feel regret and are grieved.”
Believers may try to explain all this away by saying humans were created in God’s image. But since no one has seen God or can realistically produce evidence that “He” exists, it seems much more likely, at least to me, that God is the image we see in the mirror.