Acknowledgment and Denial
Christian theologians attempt to rationalize their assertion that a certain individual, who breathed God’s air and walked God’s earth, is somehow divine and worthy of worship. These theologians present an argument which posits that it was “necessary” for God to “become human”. These philosophers argue that God “needed to become human” so that we can better relate to Him. As finite human beings, it is certainly easier for us to develop and sustain a relationship with another finite human being than it is for us to live a relationship with a holy God that is above every finite definition.
The core line of reasoning of this argument is fallacious. By redefining God, it doesn’t make it easier to have a relationship with Him. The whole concept of living in a relationship with God means acknowledging that every iota of finite existence is completely subject to God and is only here as an expression of God’s love. It boils down to acknowledgment. Can I acknowledge that I, together with all of my fellow creations, are completely subject to our Creator? Or will I withhold that acknowledgment?
Taking one entity, who breathed God’s air and walked God’s earth and attributing deity to him, is the precise opposite of acknowledgment. It is denial. It is a denial that every last finite existence attests to the truth of the Creator just as a work of art testifies to the existence of an artist. It is a denial that the need to breath and the act of breathing proclaim that the breather is but a beneficiary of the One benevolent God.
Denial is the opposite of acknowledgment. Denial cannot make acknowledgment easier. The act of denying the sovereignty of God over one of His subjects leads us in the very opposite direction of developing a relationship with God.
Let us examine this issue from another angle. Let us take a man who might feel distant from God. Let us say that this person is confused, afraid, alone and discouraged. This person finds it difficult to reach out to a God who is above all existence – such a God seems so far from him! But to imagine a person, a human being just like himself, standing there right next to him, empathizing with him and encouraging him – is not difficult at all. It just takes a little imagination.
But is the true God really so far? If this man were to suddenly receive a delivery – the UPS man brought him a box – the return address – “God”! He hurriedly opens up the box and there is a beautiful gift from God – a gift that precisely fits his need of the moment. Do you think that this man would still feel alone and discouraged? Would he still feel that God is distant and far off? I don’t think so.
The fact is that this frightened man together with every man and woman who inhabits God’s earth is receiving beautiful and precious gifts from God every second! The beating of our hearts, is a gift from God. Our ability to think is a gift from God. Our breath is a gift from God. Our very existence is a gift from God. Each of these and many more are personal gifts from a loving God who knows us better than we know ourselves and who loves us more than we love ourselves.
The true God who holds our every breath in His hand (Daniel 5:23) is not far from us. There is nothing closer to us than the One who lovingly sustains every detail of our existence every second. Our problem is that we fail to acknowledge, to recognize that these are all expressions of His love and care. In order to develop a relationship with God we need to allow ourselves to acknowledge that our breath is not an intrinsic possession of ours. We need to allow ourselves to acknowledge that the fact of our existence is not an inherent truth but rather an expression of His love. We need to allow ourselves to admit that we are but beneficiaries of God’s constant care for us.
The Scriptures teach us that the practice of justice and kindness is, in and of itself, knowledge of God (Jeremiah 22:15,16). Justice means being sensitive to give to each entity what is coming to it. Kindness is the quality that appreciates giving and recoils from undeserved taking. Justice and kindness are the tools that God gave us in order that we could acknowledge His benevolence. When we look at our breath through the lens of kindness, we realize that with every breath we are the undeserved recipients of a priceless, personal gift. When we look at our existence through the lens of justice, we realize that we belong to God.
Justice and kindness are to a relationship with God what the sense of hearing is to music and what the sense of taste is to food. The sensitivity to justice and kindness are the tools that God gave us so that we can appreciate God’s constant embrace.
If we feel that God is far, we should turn to acknowledging God’s sovereignty over every facet of existence – not to denying it.
If you found this article helpful please consider making a donation to Judaism Resources by clicking on the link below.
Judaism Resources is a recognized 501(c) 3 public charity and your donation is tax exempt.
Yisroel C. Blumenthal