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people of praise

We’re like God; he’s not like us

Dunlap

“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness’ ” (Genesis 1:26). The infinite God of the universe made humans in his image. This God merely spoke, and out of nothing came everything.

He breathes out stars, holds creation in his hand and lives in his people at the same time. There is nothing he cannot do (Matthew 19:26); he knows all thoughts and words before they are thought or spoken (Psalm 139:4); he knows where everyone is at all times (Psalm 139:2-3).

God’s attributes are amazing, and he made us in his image. But does that mean that God is like us?

Take a look in a mirror. What do you see? You see a reflection of your image. You aren’t looking at your actual self. Your image does not smell like you; it’s not three-dimensional; it doesn’t represent all of you, only the parts that are being reflected.

It doesn’t represent your thoughts, ideas, emotions, character or fears; it does not reflect your entire life; it represents nothing of your future.

Your image is like you but not completely you. Made in God’s image, we are like him. God, however, is not like us. God’s ways are not our ways: “ For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways” (Isaiah 55:8). God’s mind is not like our minds: “No one knows the mind of God” (Romans 11:34). We are like dust (Psalm 104:14), but God is a rock (Psalm 18:2). He can do things that we could never do (Job 39-41).

God is sovereign in all things – that means that everything that happens is caused by God. Joseph knew that in Genesis. His brothers sold him into slavery, and he was falsely accused and imprisoned for years. In the end, Joseph said that his brothers “meant evil against me, but God meant it for good” (Genesis 50:20). He doesn’t say God “used” it for good but that he “meant” it for good. In other words, God caused Joseph’s circumstances for his purpose.

In our society, we would consider the things that happened to Joseph to be evil. It was unjust, tragic and malicious. If we did those things, we would be evil. So is God evil? Of course not! God is holy and perfect. We are not. He is not the “man upstairs.”

Our finite minds cannot comprehend God. We barely scratch the surface of the knowledge of God. But he is knowable! He wants us to know him. In fact, Jesus said that eternal life is knowing God (John 17:3).

That’s what the Bible is all about. It’s not a self-help book, giving us 12 steps to happiness, seven steps to our best life, or the ABC’s of parenting. It’s God’s letter to us, telling us all that our minds can fathom about him.

We will never be God. He is perfect; we are sinners.

Carl Jung wrote, “Even the enlightened person remains what he is, and is never more than his own limited ego before the One who dwells in him, whose form has no knowable boundaries, who encompasses him on all sides, fathomless as the abysms of the earth and as vast as the sky.”

Because of this ego, this self-centeredness, God works out our sanctification as a process – he is conforming us into the image and likeness of his son, Jesus (Romans 8:29).

He is changing us to look more and more like him, to possess more of his nature and character. When that process is completed, we will be privileged to finally see God face to face and live, and spend eternity scratching the surface of the knowledge of God.

Ann Dunlap attends Aboite Baptist Church in Fort Wayne and is involved in several ministries. If you are interested in submitting a column (750 words or less), send it to Terri Richardson, The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802; fax 461-8893 or email trich@jg.net. Include your name, religious organization and phone number. For more information, call 461-8304.

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