There is a concept of god that has predominated in human thinking for as long as we have records. It weaves itself through the common thread of beliefs held by ancient civilizations. It is the concept of a distant god, quick to anger and delighting in punishing the human race. These gods and goddesses were believed to relate to humanity with indifference or narcissistic capriciousness, treating people’s lives as toys to be played with for their own amusement. Rain for crops and even the daily rising of the sun were favors that had to be continually begged from these grudging givers. Sacrifices and offerings were made out of fear.
Sadly, even Christians often think of God in this way, even though the Bible describes something very different. Perhaps it’s just human nature to create a fearful view of a being so powerful. Perhaps we are projecting our own fears, our sense of powerlessness in the universe. At least for me, this view feels almost like an instinct that I’ve had to overcome, dismantling its assumptions one by one. I’ve come to realize they are rooted much more in my emotions than in anything the Bible tells me about God.
Even the view of God as Father holds little comfort for many of us. Our experience of fatherhood may have been not too far from the ancients’ experiences with their gods. Fathers interested in asserting power and control with no regard for the wants or needs of their children don’t provide much comfort as we try to relate to God as a loving Father.
This blog is about trying to understand the heart of God. It would be arrogance to think it’s possible, but what will our relationship to Him be if we do not try? How do we form a relationship with someone we don’t know or don’t even begin to understand? The search to know God’s heart is a search for closeness. Without it, we are destined to focus on His rules more than His desire to know us and be known by us. We will take those rules out of the context of love and protection. We will begin to relate to him as a capricious punisher of those who break His rules. When we do, we have forgotten all that God has taught us about himself. We have forgotten His heart.