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Sunday, July 10, 2016

Point of View

You can stand outside on most days in most parts of the world and see the sun. You can feel its warmth. You can see its light. With special filters, you can even look at it. What do you know about the sun from this perspective? Well, it is warm and it is light. Good! Got it! All we need to know.

While you're standing outside examining the sun, look around you. What do you know about the Earth from this vantage point? Well, you can tell certain characteristics, but the truth is you won't be too well informed because from here it looks mostly flat and mostly land while, in fact, it is mostly spherical and 70% water.

Now, imagine if you were to do this same examination in reverse. Imagine if you stood on the face of the sun and looked at the Earth. What would you know about the Earth? Well, it's quite small, mostly spherical, and lots of water. It would be, then, a more accurate representation of the Earth. And what would you know about the sun? That is much hotter and brighter than you anticipated and it is not solid like the Earth, but largely gaseous, a more accurate representation of the sun.

This is what we tend to do with God. We look at ourselves and, through our own filters, we determine what He is like. We include things as silly as "He must have two eyes, two ears, a mouth ..." and the rest of it because, well, we do. He must look like us and think like us and act like us ... because we do. How accurate would that be? Only slightly. We know that we are made in His image, so there must be some similarity, but that's about where it would end. Like evaluating the sun from your back porch, the comprehension would be minimal at best and certainly distorted at worst. Now, what if we did it in reverse? What if we took God's position, like the sun analogy? What if we examined Man from God's view and examined God from God's view? Wouldn't we have a much more accurate understanding of both?

Well, that's a nice "what if", like "What if you stood on the sun?" How are you going to get to that view? You can't stand on the sun. You can't see God or even Man from God's perspective since God is infinite and we are not. So?

This is where God's Word comes into play. God has revealed Himself in His Word. Starting with "In the beginning, God" (Gen 1:1) and ending with "The revelation of Jesus Christ" (Rev 1:1), God has given us His perspective. He has told us what He is like. He has explained what we are like. Over 2,000 years and 66 different books He has outlined His nature and ours. He has told us His requirements, given us His commands, explained His plans, detailed His gospel. (Scripture repeatedly refers to "the gospel of God" (Mark 1:14; Rom 1:1; Rom 15:16; 1 Thess 2:2; 1 Thess 2:8-9; 1 Peter 4:17) and "gospel of Christ" (Mark 1:1; Rom 15:19; 1 Cor 9:12; 2 Cor 2:12, 2 Cor 9:13; 2 Cor 10:14; Gal 1:7; Phil 1:27; 1 Thess 3:2).) He has explained our origins, our nature, our need and our serious shortcomings. Why is it, then, that we tend to start with us and try to grasp God from our own perspective? Why is it that so many of us think that viewing God with Man as the starting point is the best way to go?

God has said that it is a mistake to assume that He is a man like us (Psa 50:21). We are formed in His image, not vice versa. And we have distorted that image, but God doesn't distort His image or ours. So we should begin with God's perspective of God and continue through to God's perspective of Man. It will be revolutionary, but it will certainly be far more accurate than our modern "Man-to-God" approach.

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