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Putting God in a Box - Michael Wodlinger
September 4, 2017

By Dr. Michael Wodlinger, Quebec Representative

I cannot count the times I have been faced with polar-thinking.  Do you know what I mean?  How often have you heard someone say something must be either one way or the other; it’s either black or white.  I’ve observed that many people are unable to see the grey in life.

Putting it another way, how many people have difficulty with ‘in-the-box’ thinking.  This has quite a bit to do also with our thinking about God, the Ruler of the universe and the Lover of our souls.

Take a moment and imagine God before you.  If you are doing this, you have put Him in a box.  The problem is that we are unable to picture God without diminishing Him, putting Him into time and space so that our temporal-spatial brains might capture Him.  As this is impossible to do, we create a construct or mental framework within which to place our Almighty Elohim.  Once we do this, He is diminished and we begin to focus on the frame, rather than on Him. 

What does this mean in practical terms?

One of the traps of boxing God is believing Him to be unidimensional.  For example, there is a theology of Our Creator as pure love.  When we see Him as love, we exclude His other dimensions – His justice, His wrath, His jealousy, etc.  Thus, when we experience difficulties in life, we are tempted to cry out in anger, “How could a loving God allow this to happen?”

Scripture, especially the Hebrew Scriptures, also known as the Old Testament (Do you hear the box closing?) does outline many dimensions of God, even those which appear to be contradictory.  Skipping the Hebrew Scriptures cuts us off from the multi-dimensional nature of our Creator.  Perhaps the following words from the Lord to Joshua might be illuminating: Yes, keep this book of the Torah on your lips, and meditate on it day and night, so that you will take care to act according to everything written in it (Joshua 1:8).

One curious thing about us human beings is that, when we have a lack of understanding about something or someone, especially God, we tend to create information and make assumptions about Him to fill-in the gaps.  This is one of the greater dangers of boxing-in God and it is often done by both the wise and the ignorant. 

A clear example of this is the theology of ‘rapture..  Even though there is insufficient information to come to a definitive understanding of this doctrine, this hasn’t stopped millions of us from making assumptions about when will God gather us up to be with Him?  We simply don’t know; but that doesn’t stop us from making assumptions, often to our detriment.  Many congregations have split over this doctrine alone. 

King David penned this timely advice for us: I don’t set my sight too high, I don’t take part in great affairs or in wonders far beyond me (Psalm 131:1).

Finally, some people put God in a box by becoming so preoccupied with the study of the theology of God, they spend more time on acquiring information at the expense of having a saving relationship with Him.  This may lead them to hearing Him say: Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, only those who do what my Father in heaven wants (Matthew 7:21).

Beloved, how do we break down the walls of the box in which we place God?  We wait for Him to reveal Himself to us, as we read in Psalm 119:18: Open my eyes, so that I will see wonders from your Torah.  We long for Him, as we read in Psalm 84:2: My soul yearns, yes, faints with longing for the courtyards of Adonai.  

We recognize the limitations of our comprehension of God, understanding it is impossible for us to fully know Him, while on this earth and we wait in awe before Him, our King, our Messiah, our Abba.

I pray we each will focus more on building a personal relationship with Him rather than on putting the Creator of the universe and the Lover of our souls in a box.  Let us freely give over control to the Holy Spirit of the Living God that He might open our minds and hearts to His wonder and majesty.

May Yahweh bless you richly.

Filed under: Devotional Study


On Friday, September 8, 2017, Kelly McDowell said
Wow! Such true words! May we all take to heart how important it is to do as He asked! Thank you for an idea that should get us back on the proper path!


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