Taking God Out of the Box

As humans, it is our tendency to try to define God’s full will or the scope of his power… But along my spiritual path, I’m becoming more and more reluctant to do this.

I believe that we miss opportunities to perceive God’s powerful activity in the world because we’ve allowed our past experiences of him to define the extent of his capabilities. For instance, in generations past, people have had experiences with God’s spirit, his love, or his presence– and have pronounced without reservation that their experience must be the only valid experience of God that can exist. God’s work at Pentecost has convinced some of us that the Spirit is most legitimately manifested in one style of worship. God’s work during the Reformation has convinced some of us that the Bible is to be used and interpreted one way for all of eternity.

We’ve created a box for God, but if he truly is the omnipotent, sovereign Creator and Sustainer of all things, then we can’t confine him to one experience in history. We can’t claim to capture the full movement of his spirit– we can’t claim to know the full mystery. I think it’s time to take God out of the box and let him be sovereign… I think it’s time to stop confining God with our narrow definitions.

After all, he’s probably tired of living in our little box.

3 responses to “Taking God Out of the Box

  1. Perhaps one of the boxes we need to avoid is the traditional language of omnipotence and power. Many, many religious abuses have been aided by the theological assumption of divine omnipotence, and much disappointment and disillusionment arises when God appears not to be so powerful after all. Let's open the box for thinking about God in process with us.

  2. You know what's funny? I was just thinking about writing something similar in my blog! Maybe Jung was right about the whole collective unconscious thing.

    I'm just as guilty of putting God into a tiny box. I keep forgetting that the Lord's table is big enough for all followers of Christ.

  3. @Stephen: Thank you for your insight! I think you're right. Our theological language and its historical context are also terrible barriers to understanding the nature of God/the Divine. I've become quite interested in process theology over the past couple of months. Can you recommend a good book or two?

    @Travis: It's interesting that you mention the Lord's table. I know the frustration and pain of being denied access to communion tables and community tables for being a doctrinal outsider. I know that others know this experience as well. It's a shame that we don't see one another as a cohesive church… But these divides have existed since the first century. Call me a foolish optimist, but I can't help but hope that we'll all see the big picture someday.

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