Is God a hypocrite?

"Did god who is incapable of sinning, create beings capable of sinning, and then punish them for sinning?

Is god not expecting a higher standard of its creation than it requires of itself?"

The questions above were posed the other day by one of my Facebook friends. I shared an absurdly long answer... thought I'd post it here for your interest:

The response of the Old Testament prophets to accusations toward God was that the pot shouldn't really complain to the potter as it owes its very existence to the potter, hence the proper response is thankfulness. Incidentally, a life filled with thankfulness often has a joyous quality about it which is lacking in those who feel entitled or hard done by. I think this is part of the “narrow road” that leads to abundant life that few find... but that’s another topic of conversation.

The NT answer is something more profound... the incarnation. (Hebrews 4: 15 “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin”.) God in Christ became fully human. Against the complaint that God does not understand us, and that God is quite unreasonable in His expectations of us, comes Jesus Christ. In identification with those who are hungry, Christ reached the point of starvation. For those who are celibate, he was single. For those in difficult relationships, he had a conflicted and contrary band of disciples. For those who are lonely, he was endlessly misunderstood. For those who suffer rejection, injustice or persecution, he went through all of this at his arrest and assorted trial hearings. For those who are weary, he went without sleep. For those who suffer pain and death, he was beaten to a pulp then crucified. So the Christian answer is that God does not expect of humans more than he is willing to do himself... experience and resist temptation, maintain conviction in the face of pain and so on. The accusation of God’s lack of empathy or unwillingness to do what he expects of us, is silenced for those who believe in Jesus.

But the deeper mystery even than that is that God knows full well we carry a flaw makes us fail to live up to the standards we know are right (standards which we defend with passion when we happen to have been at the receiving end of thoughtlessness, selfishness, hatred, or injustice). What Galatians in particular tells us is that God’s law just intensifies recognition that we “fall short”. If we humble ourselves before God it’s like he says “About time... I’ll put my Spirit in you, change your heart to want to live out of love and goodness, and give you power to do so. Frankly, I was interested in your childlike love in the first place, not in your straining to impress me by your efforts.”

The natural human state is like the teenager who puts a “do not enter” sign on the bedroom door, and if requested by a parent to clean up said room (particularly if has become a toxic health hazard) finds 500 excuses why the parent doesn’t understand them, why life is so unfair, why they didn’t ask to be born... etc. etc... anything but take responsibility. If the teenager humbled themselves and asked the parent to help them clean out the mess, the parent would very happily do so, and have a time of meaningful conversation while throwing out the mouldy oranges, etc. But barging into the room would only generate hostility. God in Christ waits to be asked, wanting relationship and our good.

Comments

AbiSomeone said…
Nice one, Janet!

...I am resonating with the "mouldy oranges" bit, of course....

For me, I am struggling with the whole bit of being drawn to the will of God as the core of life ... and asking to learn the steps of this dance.

The key, as I continue working on my series of perichoresis, is in honoring the dance partners by honoring the Lord of the Dance. It is his dance and his music that leads to joy and life ... and his dance is not one of a prima ballerina, but for a group whose steps interpenetrate....

The key was in Jesus understanding both the truth and the power in the words: but, not my will, but yours....

Love you, sister....and is you see Alan & Deb, give 'em a hug for me, eh?
Janet Woodlock said…
Probably the bit of the paradox I'm resonating with most right now is our incapacity to deal with our mouldy oranges (or to dance well) without the help of the Lord... and I think at times God draws our attention to the mouldy oranges so we'll actually be drawn to the Love and Grace of the Father... the mould colonies just help us to call on Him. In surrender we are given His grace and love.

Yes, I will be seeing Al and Deb in a couple of weeks... I'll pass on the hug!!!:-) Love to you too.

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