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Another Look at God’s Humility

13 Sep
from Google Images

from Google Images

In another blogpost (HERE) I asked the question is God humble or arrogant?[1] There I addressed what might be called good pride, like that we have in our country, in our children and in the work of our hands, particularly when others seem to value those things as well. It is one thing to think well of my country, but when foreigners praise it and choose it above their own, well that is really noteworthy. I may be proud of my children, but if the community honors them as heroes or for words well said or a deed well done, well that even vindicates the pride I have in them. Additionally, if the thing I put my hand to (sports, art, politics, military pursuits etc.) becomes recognized by others as a skilled or beautiful work that inspires or helps others, then pride in doing such a thing is not wrong.

Pride is not arrogance, if it is expressed in gladness over a real personal gift, or a real act of courage or a real demonstration of kindness etc. Pride can be a good thing, an expression of gladness or value over something good that one has, or that one has done or what one has said. One expresses humility over these things when one is not overly impressed with oneself—with what one has, or has done or has said.

The question comes to mind: is God overly impressed with himself—with who he is, or what he is able to do, or what he is able to say with authority? At least the ‘new atheists’ think he is overly impressed with himself (arrogant). Certainly Dawkins believes the God of the Old Testament is “morbidly obsessed… with his own superiority over rival gods,”[2] The problem is, however, the new atheists really aren’t that good at interpreting the Bible.

The humility of God is clearly expressed in the idea that God became man (John 1:1, 14). Why would a god, who is “morbidly obsessed …with his own superiority” over anything, do such a thing? The whole idea of God becoming man doesn’t fit the arrogant caricature of him painted by today’s new atheism. Jesus claimed that he came into the world to reveal the Father (Luke 10:22; cf. John 1:18); that is to say—to express what the Father (God) is like. The Scriptures tell us that Jesus, while in the flesh, was an exact representation of God (Hebrews 1:3). Jesus brought the Spirit of the unseen God into the open and exposed him in the flesh! What did that look like?

God wants us to rest in his works (Matthew 11:27-30). In other words, God wants us to be like he is—i.e. act like he acts and speak like he speaks or to learn how to live by walking with him. God is not merely a god who commands and lords it over his subjects. Rather God is one who is more than ready to serve his people (Luke 2:27). In fact, God is ready to serve man to the death, if that were possible (Mark 10:45).

The death of God was made possible in the fact that he became a man like one of us, living among us as a Jew. Jesus (God in flesh – John 1:1, 14) is the weakness of God (1Corinthians 1:25; cf. Philippians 2:6-8). What god is like this God? There is no other religion that boasts of God in this manner. Royalty in the world’s religions simply is not expressed in humility; only in the Christian faith is such a thing done. When we lift up our God, we point to the cross (John 3:14-15; 8:28; 12:32). He does not overcome his enemies in a display of mighty power, but in the display of his humiliation—in the manner he was treated by those he loves. He will go this far in order to prove his love for us. His glory is not expressed in the forced subjugation of his enemies, but in his enemies’ cruel treatment of him (John 12:23-24; 13:31-32).

At first we may wonder, “What sort of God is this?” (cf. John 12:34), but this is the weakness of God that is stronger than men (1Corinthians 1:25) and has overcome the world (John 16:33). It is the weakness of God expressed in preaching the Gospel and has overcome the world. Therein is God’s power uniquely and unashamedly expressed, i.e. through his humility—Jesus, the exact representation of God as man. He is both the heart of God and the spokesman of God.

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[1] As I said HERE, this current theme about “making sense of the Old Testament God” is based upon the book: Is God a Moral Monster by Paul Copan. These are my thoughts about his book. He may or may not agree with the impression his book has made upon me, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading what Paul wrote and recommend his book to anyone who is looking for a good read concerning defending our faith.

[2] Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2006), 37.

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Posted by on September 13, 2015 in apologetics

 

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