God is a great big alien being

Sometimes I think we forget.

We make pronouncements about God. Philosophical ones like whether God lives in time, or whether something is wrong because God says so, or he says so because he knows it is wrong. Theological ones like whether God chooses who will be saved and who will not. Ethical ones like whether God cares about the environment or not, and whether we should eat meat.

Sometimes we think we have answers from the Bible (though many times we dispute with other about the correct interpretation). Other times we think we have a logical argument, perhaps based somewhere on the Bible, perhaps not.

But so often we argue with a vehemence that goes way beyond our ability to really know or confidently interpret the Bible. Of course I believe in truth, and I believe the Bible tells us a lot about it, but I am less certain of our ability to get it right with such great assurance as we often show.

God is like a great big alien being. He is so far beyond our understanding. Yes, he has revealed himself to us, but what he has revealed must be only a tiny fraction of the truth about him, and we cannot even understand much of that revelation fully. Much of what has been revealed must be no more than analogy – truth ‘dumbed down’ so we humans can understand.

Humility is called for, and circumspection. When thinking about the truth, when discussing with other christians, and when discussing with non-believers.

God is a great big alien being and I think we need to learn the lesson of Ludwig Wittgenstein: “whereof one cannot speak, one must be silent!” Not silent about everything, because by grace we do have knowledge, but more careful about what we confidently claim.

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