Some years ago I opened up the USA Weekend magazine that came with my newspaper (I still took one then! 😮 ) and splashed across the front cover was the word GOD. The lead article was “How Americans Imagine God.”
I have a problem right there. God is not formed by our imagination. Consequently, what person A “imagines” about God has no relevance whatsoever as a means of actually knowing Him or anything true about Him.
I could say that I imagine the core of the earth is stuffed with daisies, but that would not make it so.
Oh, but someone may say, scientists know about the core of the earth. They’ve done science to prove that it’s most certainly not filled with daisies. However, no one can know about God, so we have to imagine him.
Actually, we can know about God more certainly than we can about the core of the earth. That’s where Christmas comes in. Yes, this actually is a Christmas post.
The whole point and purpose of the first Christmas was God coming to us, like us, so we can know Him.
“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; … And His name will be called … Mighty God” (Isaiah 9:6).
Paul explained in Philippians 2 that Jesus, who existed in the form of God, “emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant and being made in the likeness of men.”
Then in 2 Corinthians 4:4 he said “the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (emphasis mine).
Not your typical Christmas verses, I realize (except perhaps Isaiah 9:6). But here’s the point. Jesus—God Himself—came to earth that we might know Him.
He walked the roads that other men and women walked, debated Scripture with scholars, touched and healed beggars and blind men, preached to crowds of thousands and counseled a single woman. He shared Passover with His followers and blessed a number of little children.
In other words, He didn’t live His life incognito. He rubbed shoulders with people of all economic and social strata and was open about Who He was.
So there were eye witnesses who talked with God, face to face, because they talked with Christ. Some of these eye witnesses, then turned around and wrote down what they had experienced, so the rest of us have their eye witness accounts of some of the more memorable words and acts of God Incarnate.
Let me ask you. Of late have you talked to anyone who has visited the core of the earth?
Yet we Americans are so sure of what’s at the core of the earth but we can only imagine God. I find that ironic and sad.
In reality, we can know God through Christ. Not all there is to know about Him, certainly. But we can know Him.
Someone who says they imagine God is this, that, or the other, is missing out on a real relationship with a real person. We can’t change Him by what we wish Him to be. He is who He is, and He hasn’t kept His identity a secret.
This post, with some editorial changes, first appeared here in December 2010.