When you spend weeks talking about creation and providence, you are going to spend some time talking about Christianity’s “Omni-God.”
Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Omnibenevolent, & Omniscient.
All Powerful. All Present. All Loving. All Knowing.
These are characteristics which, in our limited humanity, we simply can’t fully understand or experience. We try to, but we ultimately fall short. Why? Because we just can’t comprehend the totality of power, presence, love, or knowledge. We can know what it is for a great power, a great presence, a great love, and a great amount of knowledge, but we have never seen, witnessed, or experienced an absolute of any of these things. And God is the absolute of all of them.
However, this doesn’t stop us from trying to define or create an absolute of one of these in our experiences. I think that Americans are especially guilty of this.
In seeking to gain power, we have built up the largest military in the world. We have been nicknamed “the world’s policeman” for a reason. We seek out even more powerful weapons and ever higher degrees of influence in the world. Most of us can’t help but imagine what we would do if we were given the ability to force the rest of society to live the way we deemed best. Regardless of your intentions, be the good or bad, I think we all need to admit we would enjoy having more power. After all, we just want to be like God and having more power would help us in that goal, right?
In seeking to be present everywhere, we have developed an attachment to our smart phones and social media sites which is unprecedented in previous generations. We get news from around the world the moment it happens. We are angry or upset when we can’t reach someone on their cell phone as we demand the right to intrude on their lives when it best fits our schedule. We feel it is our right to know everything about any one we want to know about, especially if they are famous in any way. Healthy boundaries for many people are a thing of the past. They don’t know how to put them up nor do they have any respect for other’s when they run into them. We tell ourselves that it is just because we care, we are just trying to better informed in our compassion and concern. After all, we just want to be like God and being able to be part of every story of humanity would help us in that goal, right?
In seeking to be all loving, we are all tolerant. No one is wrong. Everyone is a misunderstood victim who is just expressing themselves. Love means feeling good so anything which makes you feel good must be right. Love means never offending anyone. If you love me, you let me live the life I want to live. We tell ourselves that love is all about positive feelings and emotions and so anything which leads to those must be an expression of God’s love and fail enact or allow the natural consequences which come from making mistakes and lead to being a better, stronger, smarter, more compassionate person. After all, we just want to be like God and loving everything, including those things which are sinful, about everyone would help us in that goal, right?
In seeking to be all knowing, we pursue science and technology above all else. If a scientific theory, such as evolution (yeah, I said it, evolution is a theory which means is not a proven fact people), appears to stand in contrast to scripture, it is scripture which is deemed wrong. To be smart is to understand the science and technology of the day. To be wise is to be logical and unemotional above all else. To know a lot is to be able recall countless facts and figures with confidence at a moment’s notice. The amount of information available to us via the web grows exponentially with each passing day. What was considered advanced in many fields 20, or even 10, years ago is considered obsolete today. We continually push to deepen our knowledge of the universe but rarely do we push to deepen our appreciation for things like beauty, nature, and art. After all, we just just want to be like God and pursuing intellectual knowledge of creation in a single minded, determined, focused way would best help us in that goal, right?
In all of this, what we have failed to realize is that to say God is omnipotent, omnipresent, omnibenevolent, & omniscient isn’t to put these characteristics on one end of a spectrum, a rock on the other, and humanity somewhere in between. Even if one person could manage to control all the power in the world, there is still infinite amounts of power in the cosmos. Even if one person managed to be somehow present in every part of the world at the same time, they could still only be physically present in one place. Even if one person could be the embodiment of true love for all in the world, they would still be limited by their inability to fully love those who have some before us or will come after us. Even if one person could learn all the facts and figures there are to know, they still wouldn’t be able to know what is in the hearts and minds of every person simultaneously.
Too often we seek these things as if we are in a competition with each other to be more like God. And it’s a futile competition. Ultimately, we all lose because none of us will ever become God. So what’s the point in trying? Because being more like God isn’t a bad thing if we are doing it for the sake of glorying God. And if you are truly doing that, then you are constantly, humbly, giving all the credit to God. You cease to care about how you are doing in comparison to any one else, past, present, or future. You aren’t trying to prove anything to God or man. You are just being obedient to do what God has called you to do. This is what Jesus did. This is what Jesus was all about. This is how we should strive to be like Jesus in the way we live our lives.