Intellectualizing God

This huge parent figure, this creative force that binds the universe and the atoms together, this entity whom we call God who has beckoned mankind since the beginning - who is He? “Is He real or just a force without a personality? Why won’t He reveal Himself? Did He create us for His own amusement? How did this all come about?” Even many Christians today don't quite understand God and what He wants. “How important is it to keep the rules? What if I'm not good enough? Why don't I feel His presence when I pray? What am I doing wrong? Why won't He answer me?”

He can be a mystery, even to those who believe in Him.

The common thread for Christians and non-believers who intellectualize God is our desire to understand Him before trusting Him with our lives. Christians have degrees of trust which they give sparingly to God because of uncertainty while non-believers intellectualize whether to believe in God at all.

To question God is to also question who we are and why we are here, because to find God is to find the answer to life, and as Christians, we hope to better understand our relationship with Him.

There are thousands of books by philosophers, intellectuals, teachers, spiritualists and thinkers, learned and simple, believers and nonbelievers, who have presented the many faces of God, attempting to shed light on who this character is whom we call God. He has been analyzed and dissected and is still not understood. Believers understand God as their creator, provider, caretaker and Father. Some non-believers see God as a manmade construct that pacifies the weak-minded.

We’ve heard all the angles. “God is in all of us. God is dead. God is loving. God is a jealous rule keeper. God is only in our minds. God is whoever we want Him to be.” There is no end to the speculation about God. All the religions of the world have their versions of who God is and we have to remind ourselves that though they may call Him a different name, they are seeking the same person: the Creator who started it all.

Science fumbles trying to figure out the intelligent LIFE FORCE that somehow kick-started the earth with living organisms. Because of centuries of religious harassment and interference, they will not allow themselves to acknowledge this force/energy as “God”, but we know who they are looking for. And even though science concludes that life was created from a primordial soup from a perfect set of circumstances coming together: elements, amino acids, temperature, humidity, and environment, there is still that nagging undeniable question, "How can something so complex as life come out of nothing, by chance, and work out so perfectly?"

Through mere observation it is obvious that there is ONE MIND that unifies and weaves together the design of the universe and all it contains, and for many, there is no denying that the force might indeed be God, but the unbelieving mind rejects that idea because to agree is to acknowledge that God exists. And to acknowledge the existence of God means one would have to find the correct path to follow Him. So the conversation starts all over.

There are Christians who say they have a personal relationship with God, yet those same Christians are unsure of the personality of God. Some see life around them and can’t understand the reasoning of how He can allow suffering, injustice, death and loss or why He will not answer simple prayers for the good. They understand Him one day, but the next day are mystified. Yes, even Christians intellectualize about God, trying to figure out how to more effectively reach Him, even though we have all learned that God cannot be reached by finding the right formula or sequence of buttons to push, because God is not a gumball machine but a living, thinking, discerning entity.

Many of us barely understand real people in our lives, let alone figuring out God. We want to know how He thinks so we can better please Him, but we fear that He may not think like we do. We fear that He may not understand us at all.

But it is obvious that He is like us. How can a creator create a human being with emotions, yet not have those same emotions? How can a creator give a person compassion, yet He Himself not have that same compassion? Our feelings, our capacity to love reveal a creator who has created within us a reasoning intellect and heart emotions to help us navigate this life and find fulfillment through love, family and community.

Yes, it is ironic, that God created our intelligent minds and seeking hearts that we use to doubt if He really exists.

We are more than an organism that sucks gas and amino acids to survive. Our complexity reflects a creator who has thought it all out and our existence and relationship with the earth proves He is a master designer. Intellectualizing God is our attempt to understand who He is and what it all means to us. The inquiring thinker wants to understand the pond before he jumps into it. But the problem is, one will never know, until one actually jumps in.

One will never know who God is, until one decides to trust, believe and begin a relationship with Him regardless of whether you understand Him or not. That is the Catch-22. The intellectual mind won’t believe anything until he has all the answers, but he won’t have those answers until he takes the plunge to believe.

It is the fear of making a mistake and being made a fool that prevents many thinkers from taking that step to believe in Him. The one who over intellectualizes God does so because he is afraid to lose control of his emotions and trust in a God that he is uncertain about. Intellectualizing God keeps intellectuals at a safe distance from God and allows the thinker to stay in a perpetual state of thinking.

Faith and intellect fight each other. When you think you have figured Him out, He throws you a curve ball. He likes to hide because He wants faith.

The intellectual skeptic will say that our own mind is inventing God to our own image, but that lack of faith is a wall that prevents God from coming in. We have to put aside our own intellect and ask God to reveal Himself, not as a test, but out of a sincere desire to know Him.

Say there is a person you would like to date. You can analyze that person all you want, for as long as you want, but until you proceed to meet this person, that person will always be a stranger and there will never be a relationship. Your analyzing will probably prevent you from simply falling in love.

The same goes for Christians who already believe in God. We all have a limit to how much we are willing to trust and give over to God. We are afraid He may make us do something we don't want to do. It is hard to trust Him if we can't figure Him out, but we won't know, until we plunge in faith to trust Him completely. And with that trust comes a deepening of our relationship with Him.

Trusting in God is a change from the known, safe and secure, the status the unknown. Change is frightening. God has made it difficult for those who seek to figure Him out. He remains elusive to those who try their hardest to find Him...intellectually. He wants faith first. We will never understand God, until we take that step of faith and believe anyway and trust that He is God.

God will surely reveal Himself when it is time, but until then, you can do all the thinking you want, just as scholars of generations past have done, but you won’t really get to know the mind of God, until you set aside yours.

To those who seek Him with an open heart of faith, He gives the Holy Spirit who awakens our souls to who He really is and answers those unanswerable questions.

And to those who love, trust, follow and serve Him, God reveals His Kingdom.

“At that very time He rejoiced greatly in the Holy Spirit, and said, "I praise You, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight. All things have been handed over to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him."- Luke 10: 21-22

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” - Matthew 5:8.


© 2008 Edrick

"The Thinker" by Auguste Rodin

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