Monday, February 27, 2012

The Nature of God

There is a great deal of speculation about the nature of God. Some time ago, Clean Cut posted his view of the nature of God in several posts, and it was mentioned that I ought to do the same when I asked for post suggestions.

Some questions which people like to discuss include whether or not the Lorenzo Snow couplet based on the King Follett discourse is true ("As man is, God once was; as God is, man may become"), whether or not God and Jesus are one as in one person, not just one God, and just what exaltation means in an LDS context.

I've pondered and read some about this, and will continue to do so, since I don't feel complete in understanding. Though there is much I consider too sacred for an online forum, there are some things I know about God which I would like to share here.

God is not condemnation. So many people read scripture and get this impression of a stern, judgmental God waiting for a reason to lower the hammer. Because most of us carry this visceral fear of unfairness, we fear that God Himself is unfair, that there is some insurmountable force which will rob us of our just deserts.

But I feel a little differently. I believe that God is good. Have any of you ever been in a room with someone who is just plain good? It makes you either want to be better, or resent that person for their purity. I think God is like that on a grand scale. He is so good that power flows to Him without compulsion. He doesn't have to make anyone or anything obey Him, because most of us do it willingly. Nothing impure can withstand His presence. Impurities flee before Him. And, if we are too attached to our impurities, we flee as well.

I don't think He condemns us. I think we condemn ourselves.

God is wisdom. I think God is able to see all sides of any issue. I think sometimes we don't understand Him because we can't see or comprehend what He sees. I don't think He is cruel, but I think that sometimes His priorities don't make sense to us, wrapped as we are in mortality and the present. I think that wisdom, God, is most often found in balance. As much as most of us would love a rule book, very few things are all one way or another. To everything, there is a time and season and a purpose under heaven.

That goes for the things we don't like as much as the things we do. I think sometimes people don't want to believe that discipleship could be hard, painful, unpleasant. We almost worship comfort. We would like to think that righteous decisions insulate us from pain. But nothing could be further from the truth. Righteousness teaches us to master pain, not avoid it. It teaches us to be actors and not that which is acted upon.

I believe that God's power comes, at least in part, from His wisdom. He understands us. He understands everything*. There is a secret part of all of us that cries out to be understood. Perhaps that is because we once lived in a home where we were perfectly understood, all the time. Now, we can't even understand ourselves.

God is love (but it isn't what you think it is.) We have largely been raised on love as romance. But real love isn't romance. It's sometimes dark, almost always gritty, and the joy of it is found through sacrifice. I think perhaps this is why Christ had to die for us. There is really no other way for God to help us (and all of nature) understand that sacrifice and love are the same thing. You can't have love without sacrifice.

As far as the rest of all that speculation about what God is, I find it doesn't really matter. I'm guessing I already get that on a level deeper than words, anyways. But it does matter who God is. I know He loves me, and understands me, and that exaltation means I get to go home.

That's all that matters to me.

*Even mosquitos.

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