Why I Think of God As "Limited"

Because it's far more helpful. 

Now, now. Relax.

I've read the Bible a bit. My doctrine is at least average on the scale of, say, Hitler to C.S Lewis. B or C-list, but not F-list.

So, like a good church kid I realize the error of my statement. 

I mean, just open the Bible to the first page and we see this dude who was there at the "beginning," whatever that means. He started flinging creation around like weren't no thing. And all that with his words.  

What if someone came up to you and said "Hey, I can move that tree all by myself. And won't even touch it. I'll just use my words." 

Okay David Blaine. I see you.

But God was doing this on a cosmic level. Imagine it. God takes the stage, walks up to the mic. He lifts a lazy pointer finger and says, "hey, stars go there, planets go there, et cetera." 

And they do. 

So I get it. I understand. God does what he wants. No one is going to stop him.


Except maybe himself.


I mean, we must account for all the tragedy in the world somehow, right?

I've heard this pretty reasonable argument.

"There's pain all around us, thus:

a) God cares and isn't omnipotent or

b) Is omnipotent and doesn't care"

It's not absurd, but I find this string of logic, well, limited.

See, God seems real interested in involving humans in this whole show. But that comes at a price.


Let's try to get in the God seat for a second.

Suppose you've just created the universe. All the lifeless shells are there. Planets aren't rotating yet. Waves are paused. You're about switch it all on and you're making some decisions about how things are going to be animated. Here's some knobs you see on the control panel:



You reach for the freewill knob first, because that's your favorite. You turn it to ten with a smile. 

But you notice something. You turn up the freewill knob and the mess knob goes up too! Can't have one without the other. Shoot.

No problem. Just turn up the divine intervention knob! That will fix the mess. Whenever something is about to go wrong… you'll get a notification on your Godphone. You'll swoop in and fix it!

Foiled again. This one makes the freewill knob go down. People aren't afforded the fullness of their choices when they don't feel the effects. This knob you can leave at about a two before it starts messing with things much.


Well, being God, you make another knob.


...that doesn't seem to effect the other knobs at all but at least you, God, can still be involved. Your power is limited to having a human partner, but that's okay because you want that anyway. With this knob turned up, not only will you be able to pour right into humans who want to be involved, but you can work with these same humans to help their neighbors!

Still gonna be a mess though.

Your conclusion as God: "I think I'm going to have to become human to sort this all out... And that will hurt. But it's going to be worth it!"

And you flick the universe on.

If I'm being honest, it seems that God turned the freewill and mess knobs up too high — probably both to eleven. I don't think I'd be as risky or as brave as God, but he most likely knows best.

One last thing. I am dumb and I get all upset and put all my focus on the mess knob and how disproportionate it is to to the divine intervention knob. I don't look at why it's turned up. But even more than that, I don't give much attention at all to the sweetest knob on the board: the divine-intervention-limited-to-willing-humans knob. While it's God's biggest limit, it's a human's biggest opportunity. If I was smarter I'd get real excited about the implications of that knob, because I am a human.

But that's just me.

God, help me understand the way you work, your limitedness fueled by infinite wisdom. Amen.