Question #8 Proper Understanding of God
I recently had a Christian give me the following argument: they said imagine holding a gallon of water in each hand and walking up a flight of stairs. It would be very difficult for you. Well we know the earth is over 70% water, but God holds it up with one hand no problem because He is God. With love I wanted to correct a few false perceptions they had. It really breaks my heart to know that there is a wealth of information on God, the universe, anthropic constants etc out there but is virtually untouched by the average Christian. If we are to Love God with our mind and even give reasons for our faith then it is absolutely vital that we have a proper understand both philosophically and theologically about God.
The first thing I had to correct was her “God of the gaps” reasoning. What this person was essentially saying was that water and the earth was held in place and we didn’t know how that happens, therefore God does it. As believers we should not commit this error of reasoning. God of the gaps is an argument from ignorance. It says, “I don’t know how this works, therefore, God did it”. We mustn’t over spiritualize every event we see.
First of all we know that God doesn’t literally have hands. He does not have a body. Properly put, He is an unembodied mind. He is beyond the physical. Much like the number 7 has no physical location and can not be touched, God too is beyond these things. It is what you call metaphysics. So what do we do when the bible speaks of God’s hands or eyes? We must first understand that the bible is not meant to be a theological book or a philosophical book. Just like it’s not a mathematical book or scientific book. Now that’s not to say we can not derive theological, philosophical, or scientific truths from it. We are merely saying that this is not the purpose it serves. The Bible is to be understood with in the genre that it is writing, be it figurative, narrative, historical, poetic etc. So when the bible speaks of God’s eyes going to and fro on the earth, no one is fearful of two rolling balls that might hit us on the way out the door. This is anthropomorphism that allow us to better understand God using personification or figurative language. Much like me saying, “the sun slapped my face with heat”. But clearly the sun does not have hands to slap me.
Lastly I will say we do not have to reduce every physical thing to something spiritual. God and the physical are two completely different fields of inquiry. No one looks at a ford motor and then begins to search for Henry Ford inside the car to see how he’s making things operate. We must not confuse the explanation of agent and mechanism. To use the example again, if I were to ask, “Where did the Ford motor come from? Pick one: Henry Ford or the laws of internal combustion.” Well that would be absurd and a false dichotomy to say to only pick one. Henry Ford explains why the mechanism exist. And the laws of internal combustion explain how and why it works. That being said, we can explain a fair amount of what goes on in our universe with out even having to mention God. And that’s ok. Much like we don’t need to mention who Henry Ford is when we change the oil. What we can do is attribute the fine tuning of the universe and anthropic constants to design with would of course require a designer. My point is we must have a proper perspective of God and not feel pressured to over spiritualize areas where we are not scientifically knowledgeable about (if it is even a scientific question).
This is what it means to love God with our mind. “My people perish for a lack of knowledge” –Hosea 4:6
Got a question? Submit any questions regarding God, Philosophy, Apologetics, Theology, Christianity, or the like to our ministry via Facebook, Instagram, Youtube or our Website. Thank you and God bless.