The Unimaginable Greatness of God

Episode 19 February 09, 2021 00:14:15
The Unimaginable Greatness of God
Thinking Christian
The Unimaginable Greatness of God

Feb 09 2021 | 00:14:15


Show Notes

A creative-thinking reflection on God’s greatness — using imagination to see how far God’s imagination, power, knowledge and love exceeds even what we can imagine it to be.

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:00 <inaudible> Speaker 1 00:00:08 Hello, this is Tom Gilson with the thinking Christian podcast. And today I'm going to do a repeat of a podcast. I actually did about 10 or 11 years ago. The first time it's the product of many hours of trying to understand God, trying to think through who he is and realizing as much as I try to understand him, his reality is always beyond my grasp. That there's always more to him to worship more of him to wonder at, to Marvel at I started here today with a thought experiment that maybe will lead you into that kind of an understanding of how, how far above us. He is his infinite greatness and do it in a creative, new way. Your brain may hurt, as I say, at one point in this podcast, but that's actually the point. It just shows that we're always going to worship God for his infinite greatness. So let's begin. Speaker 1 00:01:06 This is an exercise in imagination and worship it's purpose is to help us get a glimpse of God's greatness by seeing in some distant, dim way, how vastly different he is from us and how much greater you may wonder as we begin where this is going. I want you to be assured that by the end, it will be very practical. And I hope also very worshipful for you too. I started thinking about these things many years ago, I spent literally hours wondering over them and I haven't come close to grasping what it all means, but I want you to know my view of God has expanded many times over for making the effort and I hope something like that will happen for you as well. Now this is an exercise in imagination. That means you'll probably want to find a place to sit comfortably, where you can close your eyes, where you can relax. Speaker 1 00:02:01 You might want to pause this track until you can get settled down there. You don't want to do this while you're driving. Go ahead and do that pause track, and then come back. Okay, you're ready to go. It's time to begin. And you're going to understand right away why I suggested that you be in a place where you could close your eyes, because I want you to imagine that you are alone. There is nothing but you. I don't mean that. You're going to imagine you're alone in the world. I want you to imagine you are more alone than that. There is no world. There is only you, nothing else exists, but this is going to take some effort. In fact, when I tried this with my family, my daughter said my brain hurts. Try it, try to think of being so alone. That there's no chair under you. Even there never has been. There's only you that's a stretch. I don't expect you to achieve it, but go ahead and try. Give it your best shot. Speaker 2 00:03:06 Pause for a moment. How you doing? Speaker 1 00:03:11 Let's let's keep going. It's time for you not to be alone anymore. You're going to create something to exist in this reality, along with you, something other than yourself, what's it going to be? Trees, sky, water, oceans, no fare in this exercise. There are no trees to start with no water, no ocean, nothing. You are starting from scratch. You have only your imagination to work with no other raw materials. You've never seen a sky. You've never seen light and you've never seen dark. You have no experience with what colors are. You've never heard a sound. It's up to you to make up everything from within yourself. Can you imagine doing that? Can you conceive of thinking of something so utterly and completely new the way God did? You can't do it. You can't do it obviously. No one could, but God. So I wonder, does this begin to give you a deeper sense of what God did as recorded in the first couple of days, Speaker 2 00:04:13 Chapters of Genesis and better, Speaker 1 00:04:17 And just remind you, I hope you don't think I'm encouraging you to try to imagine your God to think you're God or anything like that. My purpose is exactly the opposite to help us see what a immeasurably impossibly, huge distance separates Speaker 2 00:04:32 Us from him, but we're Speaker 1 00:04:34 Not done yet. We're not done stretching ourselves yet. You're listening to my voice, right? Which comes from outside of yourself. You heard me ask you to create something other than yourself. Now, if you were really in the position of our creator, God, the very idea of something outside yourself wouldn't exist yet. When God created the world, he had to first invent the very idea of something other than myself for there was no such thing as something other than himself, there was Trinity, the three persons of the Godhead communicating with one another, but nothing else. There was nothing but God before creation, he was all of reality. And all of reality was God, a very good loving God that is. Have you ever thought how lucky we are that this one reality is good. I mean, what if we had landed in a reality where God wasn't good, but, but no, there I've gone. Speaker 1 00:05:32 I've gotten it mixed up. There is no other reality we could have landed in. There. Never was. There never could have been. There never could be luck had nothing to do with it. God is being itself. The reality we live in the only reality that is or ever could have been where God is the good God is the only reality. It's the only possibility. Goodness is the only kind world that there ever could have been. Thank God for that. So you can see this thought experiment of ours will get us somewhere and we're, it will take us to his understanding that God's reality. His essence, his being is so far beyond our imagining that we will never, ever hope to get there. So let's just set the, the imagination exercise aside for now. I think it's taken us as far as it can, but let's continue to ponder who God is, what God is and what God did in creation. Speaker 1 00:06:31 First of all, he thought all of this up without any example, the copy from no cue cards, no cheat sheets. It all came from his own immense creativity. It said that he created the universe out of nothing. And this is true, but it's too easy to get the sense of it. Wrong to think of it as if God found someplace where there was some nothing, and he created everything from there. That's not what he did. In fact, do you realize that if it actually were what he did, he would have had to invent that nothing first, there was no such thing as nothing for him to work with. He was himself in a way that we cannot humanly grasp. He was everything. And then he thought of everything. Sometimes I think I'm pretty creative. But then I look at a maple leaf. I couldn't come up with an idea like that. Speaker 1 00:07:24 I look at a maple tree composers, often write musical variations on a theme. How many variations has God written on the theme of maple tree during our imagination exercise. When you are trying to think of yourself as the only thing that exists, did you think of yourself as floating somewhere in space? I'm pretty sure that's the best that we humans could do with that kind of thought picture. But it's really very, very different from God's reality. God wasn't floating in space for, there was no space. He was as he still is the fullness that fills all didn't all, except that the concept of filling even falls short of the truth. If we think of it as, as if God were occupying some space. In fact, if you thought of yourself floating in some kind of dark space, you were doubly distant from God's reality because in him, there's no darkness. Speaker 1 00:08:21 Now this is metaphorical. God is light, but he is not photons. Instead. He's the goodness that we associate with light. Of course that's inadequate to metaphors always fall short, but at least it gets us a little closer to the truth. Anyway, let's keep going. When God spoke in light sprang, into being, where did he put it? You're going to think that's not a serious question, but it is. And it, and it takes us to a really interesting direction. Where did God put it? Scientists tell us that energy and space and time all came into at once science and theology agree that there was no space. There was no time until it first began, but until God made it. So where did God put this new thing that we call space? Did he put it inside himself or somewhere nearby? He certainly didn't put it outside himself. Speaker 1 00:09:13 There was no outside for God was all, but there was no inside either because God doesn't have sides. He doesn't occupy space that way and space doesn't occupy him either. Shall we say that God is bigger than the universe? No, that wouldn't be right. And actually God doesn't have a size. What, what yardstick would we use to measure him? It's not just that we don't have yardsticks big enough to do it. It's that our yard sticks are for measuring space and God is not in space. God is where you are in your chair right now, God's across the street and he is present at the furthest reaches of the cosmos. So if you walk across the street, are you walking through God? No, because all of God is there, right where you are right now, all of God is there across the room. All of God is on the planet. Speaker 1 00:10:07 Saturn, all of God is at the far corner of the galaxy. Even further than that, when you walk across the room, you are not passing from one part of God to another. He has no parts. He is all there everywhere. So perhaps now, thinking of all this, you have a new sense of how utterly amazing God is, how unimaginably greater than he is than us. Perhaps it raises another question in your mind. Why does he care? Why does he bother with us? He is so vastly different from us. So much more wise, so much more Holy, so much more good. He can do what he wants. Why does he put up with us? The answer is that God's absolute greatness extends to as being a great leap, personal greatly loving God. There's still mystery here. Yes. Just as there is with respect to his creativity, his timelessness, his space lessness and other things we've been considering, what does it mean for God to be personal? Speaker 1 00:11:14 We can at least understand what it means to let someone be real, to let them be genuine, to give them freedom, to live and to love. That's what God has done with us. He allows us to live our lives, to learn, to love one another and especially to love him. He is always there moving in and through us to grow his people up, to be complete in him, prepared for life. And for eternity, he is the same God who thought you up out of his own unimaginable creativity, the perfect God who was goodness himself, who created the universe, who so encompasses everything that is he's fully and completely present with you in all of his infinite love that love, which was above all else revealed in Jesus Christ. The one whom in other studies, which, which I've published actually in a book called too good to be false, whose immeasurably greater than we are. Speaker 1 00:12:13 Even in his character. Even as one who walked on the earth, he's the one who lived the only perfect human life. And if you want to grasp of God's greatness in another way, just look at his character, study him in the gospels, see how great he is. See if you could even imagine living up to his goodness, his love, his giving nature. God gave to us through Jesus because he loves us. If there's anything that all is hard to understand, that might be the top. One of them, all that he loves us that much. Oh, that's hard to understand. I can't grasp it, but I can certainly thank him for it. Really. If you've comprehended, anything of what I've shared with you, you're a better Christian than I I've only puzzled over it. Like my daughter, my brain has hurt for it yet through all this process of puzzling and pondering over God, I have gained a greater appreciation for God himself, for his ever present reality. My wonder at his love has grown deeper. So I hope you'll take time to meditate on these things as I have, and just think them through over and over again, think of what our God is, who our God is the kind of reality that God is. And the kind of reality that God encompasses, how much glory there is in God. I hope you will do that. And I hope that as you do that guided by scripture guided by scripture, I hope that as you do that, your centered Speaker 3 00:13:51 Will grow as mine has. The thinking Christian podcast is copyright by Thomas Gilson for more information, visit the thinking Christian [email protected].

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