How God Identifies Himself
by Cory Tucholski 7/06/2011 / Christian Living
"It's interesting how God defines himself. He told Moses that he is the God of your fathers; the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. He did not define himself by his omnipotence or his omniscience but by his personal relationships with these common men." (http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=11747)
So reflected Cardinal Albert Vanhoye, leader of the Roman Curia's Lenten retreat in 2008. I think that is absolutely fascinating because for many skeptics, God's omnipotence and omniscience are not only God's defining characteristics, but the logical basis by which many of them reject him. The presence of an omnipotent and omniscient being can only lead to fatalism in their minds, regardless of the number of times that I've seen Christians refute this notion.
Because the skeptic cannot conceive of how an omnipotent and omniscient being could exist simultaneously in a universe that has free moral creatures, they conclude no such being exists. Therefore, God does not exist.
That's called argument from incredulity. The Counter-Creationism Handbook states that most creationist arguments against evolution fall into that trap. Because the creationist cannot conceive of evolution possibly doing something, they dismiss it as impossible. As the Handbook points out, this isn't a valid argument.
But it cuts both ways. Simply not understanding how a being with perfect omniscience can coexist with beings that have moral freedom is not a rational basis for rejecting the notion, particularly in light of the fact that such reasoning against evolution is soundly rejected by the same folks. And so we expose another double standard from the skeptical camp.
Interestingly, according to Cardinal Vanhoye, God doesn't identify himself on the basis of his attributes. He identifies himself on the basis of his relationship to creation. How much more should we, then, identify ourselves on the basis of our relationship to him. I think that the real problem is that the skeptic is ruled by his sinand his sin is how he defines "fun." Drinking, gambling, drugs, premarital sexall of these things are "fun," but all of these things have consequences.
Defining oneself on the basis of one's relationship to God will have consequences, too. One must focus one's thoughts on what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and commendable (Phil 4:8)and it is easy to conclude even without a Bible (cf. Gal 5:16-24) that those things I just defined as "fun" from a secular point of view do not fit with that mode of thinking.
Defining oneself on the basis of a relationship with God brings with it freedom from sin (cf. Rom 6:14). Paul exhorts us not to use that freedom for sin, "but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another" (Gal 5:13-14).
So, brothers and sisters in Christ, if God identifies himself on the basis of a relationship to his creatures, why do the creatures not identify themselves on basis of a relationship to him?
Cory Tucholski is a passionate defender of the Christian faith. He is the husband of one amazing woman and the proud daddy of two fantastic children. Cory runs the apologetics blog Josiah Concept Ministries (http://josiahconcept.org).