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Incomparable God


When I held that gun in my hand, I felt a surge of power—like God must feel when he’s holding a gun.

—Homer Simpson

People often fail to see God as he is because they think of him as they think of themselves. We hear people say things like “How could God . . .” or “My God would never . . .” Barack Obama, in an interview about his religious beliefs, said, “I find it hard to believe that my God would consign four-fifths of the world to hell. I can’t imagine that my God would allow some little Hindu kid in India who never interacts with the Christian faith to somehow burn for all eternity.” And why not? Because Barack Obama would not do that (or so he believes, anyway).

We often think of what is possible in terms of what we can do, or what is naturally possible. With that kind of mindset, it isn’t ridiculous at all to think that God might feel more powerful if he had a gun, just as we do. But of course, no weapon of any kind could make God be or feel more powerful, because he is already omnipotent. Our thoughts of God are, as Luther said to Erasmus, “too human.”

J. I. Packer, looking at Isaiah 40, considers what we would see if we accurately compared ourselves to God and the things he has done.

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Look at the tasks I have done, he says. Could you do them? Could any man do them? “Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basked, or weighed the mountain on the scales and the hills in a balance” (v. 12). Are you wise enough, and mighty enough, to do things like that? But I am, or I could not have made this world at all. Behold your God!

Look now at the nations, the prophet continues: the great national powers, at whose mercy you feel yourselves to be. Assyria, Egypt, Babylon—you stand in awe of them, and feel afraid of them, so vastly do their armies and resources exceed yours. But now consider how God stands related to those mighty forces which you rear so much. “Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales; . . . Before him all the nations are as nothing: they are regarding by him as worthless and less than nothing” (Is 40:15, 17). You tremble before the nations, because you are much weaker than they; but God is so much greater that the nations that they are nothing to him. Behold your God!

Look next at the world. Consider the size of it, the variety and complexity of it; think of the nearly five thousand millions who populate it, and of the vast sky above it. What puny figures you and I are, by comparison with the whole planet on which we live! Yet what is the entire mighty planet by comparison with God? “He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a net to live in” (Is 40:22). The world dwarfs us all, but God dwarfs the world. The world is his footstool, above which he sits secure. He is greater that the world and all that is in it, so that all the feverish activity of its bustling millions does no more to affect him that the chirping and jumping of grasshoppers in the summer sun does to affect us. Behold your God!

Look, fourthly, at the world’s great ones—the governors whose laws and policies determine the welfare of millions; the would-be world rulers, the dictators and empire builders, who have it in their power to plunge the globe into war, think of Sennacherib and Nebuchadnezzar; think of Alexander, Napoleon, Hitler. Think, today, of Clinton and Saddam Hussein. Do you suppose that it is really these top men who determine which way the world shall go? Think again, for God is greater that the world’s great men. “He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing” (Is 40:23). He is, as the prayer book says, “the only ruler of princes.” Behold your God.

But we have not finished yet. Look, lastly at the stars. The most universally awesome experience that mankind knows is to stand alone on a clear night and look at the stars. Nothing gives a greater sense of remoteness and distance; nothing makes on feel more strongly one’s own littleness and insignificance. And we who live in the space age can supplement this universal experience with our scientific knowledge of the actual factors involved—millions of the stars in number, billions of light years in distance. Our minds reel our imagination cannot grasp it; when we try to conceive of unfathomable depths of outer space, we are left mentally numb and dizzy.

But what is this to God? “Lift you eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing” (Is 40:26). It is God who brings out the stars; it was God who first set them in space; his is their Maker and Master—the are all in his hands and subject to his will. Such are his power and his majesty. Behold your God!

—J. I. Packer, Knowing God (InterVarsity Press, 1993), 86–88.



Posted 2008·11·20 by David Kjos
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Posted in: Glory (of God) · J I Packer · Knowing God · Omnipotence
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1 Comments:


#1 || 08·11·20··16:58 || donsands

As on a cold night one can see his own breath, so god created the universe with his breath. The trillions times trillions of stars and planets were His handiwork.

I wish my mind would experience more of an awe than it does, when I read posts like this. And my heart be more fearful of the greatness of God.

I surely believe God is this great, and even greater really. I believe Katrina was His hurricane, and did His will. And not only that, but He knew how many drops of rain fell.

He is magnificent!


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