Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Like Dog, Like God

Have you ever noticed how we as humans tend to affix human qualities, thoughts and words into and onto non-human things? It's called anthropomorphizing. We do it all the time. I know I do. I mean, if you've read here before you've no doubt noticed that I try to interject my thoughts into various animals and birds all the time. There's nothing wrong with it. In fact, it's really kind of fun! The Far Side is the epitome of anthropomorphizing and, in my ever humble opinion, is fantastic! One of my faves.

Why do you think dog is a man's best friend? Because you can pretend your dog is thinking ANY thing you want him/her to be thinking. If your real best friend sat in your passenger seat and never spoke a word and slobbered on your window would he/she still be your best friend? Just because they look at you in a way you think you can interpret?? How many times do you hear someone say, "Awww, he just loves me! Look at him, he's thinking 'what a great person my owner is.'"? Or something similar. But what if the dog is really thinking in dog--not human--and it goes something like this: "big round eyes, wag tail, get better food." Or what if, when a robin sits atop a tree on a sunshiny morning chirping out it's delightful melody, it's not really celebrating the fact that it's a bright, cheery morning, but instead is sounding off to the other birds in the neighborhood..."hey you schmucks! Wake up, these worms aren't gonna last all day!" We have no idea, so we fill in the blanks with our own, human words and sentiments. And usually in our own language, because I don't know about you, but I just can't imagine cows speaking French.

Unfortunately, we do the same thing with God. God is not merely a super human with super human powers. No, He is GOD and even though we are created in His image, we are not God. Not even close. Which one of us is everywhere right now? Which one of us can create something from nothing? Which one of us can even fathom that? We say things like, "God must be angry" or "that makes God very sad", which may or may not be true in any given circumstance, but we are thinking it in human terms because we're human. But God's sad or glad or angry are not the same as our human versions of those things. In the same way that we cannot be everywhere at once, we cannot have all these emotions at once. In the same way God can be (and is) everywhere at once, He can have all these emotions at once. We affix our limited suppositions on The God that is humanly unknowable and in the process we make Him very weak and small. Like ourselves. I know I do. And He loves me anyway!

1 comment:

McSwain said...

I was thinking at the beginning of the post how I do this with my son. You know, he'll be sitting in the back seat with his nose buried in a book, not answering my questions, so I speak for him: "You're the best mom in the world! I love you SO much!" At some point he wakes up and says, "Oh, yeah. I do love you, Mom."

But then I got to your last paragraph... excellent. My pastor's just started a great series on this very thing. Thank you for making me think tonight.