Has God Gotten Smaller?

Yes and no.

One of the results of the Enlightenment and secular humanistic thinking was to banish religion or belief in God to the private.  Therefore those who chose to continue practicing religion had to become amphibious in living in one reality in which God was true and absolute, and another where he must remain silent and passive.

This compartmentalization leaves many with a diminished view of God’s providence over all and in all.  Matt wrote a helpful post a few weeks ago about Christians and culture so I do not want to rehash that here.  But I do want to comment that while secular humanism did not go as far as the “New Atheists” have in saying religion is evil and needs to be done away with; they did demand that a belief in God remain a peripheral for everybody.  This only instigated the nihilistic mood in which many of us were left wondering if there was a center to life.  From this loss of center spawned an obsession with “purpose” in which millions were running around looking for somewhere to plug their umbilical cords into.

So we have had to leave behind God’s transcendence and otherness, and put all our eggs in the basket of God’s immanence.  This produces a God who is tame, familiar, understanding, but also quite small.  Just think of your own personal life coach or Tony Robbins.

But this is all the private can really achieve.  Purpose must be very reductionistic and hone in on the personal and emotive more than anything else.

We have made God small.

It is only in the balance of God’s transcendence and nearness do we recover the meta-narrative of God’s redemptive story from creation to final judgment.

The good news is that even if we try and make God small and a new ideology captures the culture, the reality of God’s greatness and majesty remains.  It might be wise for you to take a few minutes today and read through Col. 1:15-20 and just be reminded that the triune God of the universe is bigger and more other than we can ever fathom, but he is also incredibly near.


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