Try this: Close your eyes and imagine the unimaginable.
That’s sort of what we’re doing when we try to understand God using Theology. We’re trying to use logic, and language, and scripture and our very limited understanding to imagine something that – by definition – is unimaginable.
Recently, in our weekly Square 3 zoom conversation, we tried to wrap our minds around the idea that we are like God. Or even, as some want to say, “We ARE God”, and what that means, and if it’s true, how is it true, and in what ways?
Without going into all the ins-and-outs of where we went in that amazing conversation, I’d like to highlight just one thread we pulled on during that time. It was about “being and becoming” and part of that was informed by this quote from Henri Nouwen’s book “Becoming The Beloved” where he says:
“I know that the fact I am always searching for God, always struggling to discover the fullness of Love, always yearning for the complete truth, tells me that I have already been given a taste of God, of Love and of Truth. I can only look for something that I have, to some degree, already found. How can I search for beauty and truth unless that beauty and truth are already known to me in the depth of my heart?”
Think about that. We must already have a taste of God, of Love and of Truth to know what it is we are looking for. “I can only look for something that I have, to some degree, already found” is a profound statement. Especially in terms of God.
Next, Nouwen says this:
“If it is true that we not only are the Beloved, but also have to become the Beloved; if it is true that we not only are children of God, but also have to become children of God; if it is true that we not only are brothers and sisters, but also have to become brothers and sisters…if all of that is true, how then can we get a grip on this process of becoming? If the spiritual life is not simply a way of being, but also a way of becoming, what then is the nature of this becoming?”
This is beautiful. We are all becoming more of who we already are. Everyone is in Christ, but Christ has not yet resurrected within everyone’s heart. Everyone is the glory of God, but we are all learning to become the glory of God. We are all God’s children, but some of us are still waking up to our sonship and daughterhood.
The God we seek has already found us. The Love we yearn for is already within. The Christ we desire is already at home in us. The Truth we search for is closer than our own heartbeat.
So, while there are many ways in which I am NOT like God [most of the time?] the truth is that I am in God and God is in me and I am both becoming more like God and already godlike in ways I probably don’t fully understand.
I know this makes a lot of Christians nervous. But, when we look at the way in which Jesus equated himself with God in the Gospel of John it’s when he said “I and the Father are one” that nearly got him stoned to death. [See John 10:30-36]
Can’t you or I also say, “I and the Father are one”?
Of course we can. The New Testament scriptures affirm over and over again that God is in us and we are in God and Christ is in the Father and the Father [and Christ] are in us. [See John 14:20]
Jesus even prays that we would all be one even as he and the Father were one, and that we would also be in them. [See John 17:11-21]
So, being one with the Father isn’t blasphemy, it’s Gospel.
Part of what makes this all so challenging to comprehend is that we are trying to fuse ourselves with the Unimaginable. We can barely grasp the ideas of Eternity or wrap our tiny brains around the concept of quantum particles that can be in two places at the same time, or a myriad of other concepts that make our brains hurt.
Maybe that’s why the simple truths are best. God is love. All who live in love live in God and God lives in them. [See 1 John 4:16]
God might be beyond our imagination, but for most of us, Love is not so hard to imagine.
Maybe we start there?
Keith Giles and his wife, Wendy, work with Peace Catalyst International to help build relationships between Christians and Muslims in El Paso, TX. Keith was formerly a licensed and ordained minister who walked away from organized church over a decade ago to start a home fellowship that gave away 100% of the offering to the poor in the community. Today he is the author of the best-selling “Jesus Un” series of books, including “Jesus Unexpected: Ending The End Times To Become The Second Coming” which is available now on Amazon.