Vital Issues: Is God Man-Made?
By: Joel Joyce
“You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay.” Isaiah 29:16
The prophet Isaiah wrote these words to a society that lived 2700 years ago. He was describing how people in his day created gods of their own design, with their hands, just as a potter would mold clay to his own liking. But they had things backwards; they were forgetting that God is the potter and man is the clay. God forms man; man doesn’t form God.
Our society today makes the same mistake. In the Western world we don’t form god by our hands, but by our imaginations. We have formed our own opinions about who God is, what He is like, what gender He is, what type of lifestyles He approves of, and whom He will forgive. We have turned things upside down.
Some have made God into a family physician. He is there when we need Him. Most of the time we can get on quite well without Him. In fact, we rarely even think about Him unless we have a problem. But when misfortune strikes, we want God to hear our call for help and come to our rescue.
Others have formed God into a watchmaker. He created the universe, set it in motion and then sat back to watch it tick away on its own. He is far removed and doesn’t get involved in our affairs. So we are free to form our own laws, our own standards of right and wrong, even our own religion.
Still others have turned God into a loving Santa Claus who showers us with good things when we are nice. When we are naughty, however, He isn’t quite as generous. Perish the thought that He would ever punish us! He is a loving God. In the end He will forgive everyone…except the Hitlers and the Stalins.
If we really want to know what God is like and what He thinks and expects of us, we must be willing to set aside our opinions and listen to what He has to say about Himself. We must turn to God’s Word, the Bible. What does the Bible say about God? Is He interested in individuals? Can we know Him? Does He expect anything from us? Will He judge us? Will He forgive us? God’s word gives clear and definite answers to these important questions.
First, God is not remote. He is intensely interested in individuals. The Apostle Paul, one of the main writers of the New Testament, wrote “I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20) Paul knew that God loved him as an individual, not because He loved the human race and Paul was part of that race. “He loved me,” Paul says, and not only that, “He gave himself for me.” Paul is referring to the death of Jesus Christ on the cross for his sins. Christ died as a substitute for sinners, not merely as a martyr.
Further, God does expect something from us. He wants us, like Paul, to put our faith in the Son of God for salvation. Many people today think that they will be in Heaven as long as they don’t commit any heinous crimes. But the Bible teaches that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23). We have all fallen short of God’s moral standards. We have all broken His laws, and our sin makes us unfit for heaven. Only through the death of Christ can we have our sins forgiven. The Bible says “Whoever believes in the Son (Jesus Christ) has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him” (John 3:36).
God also says that He will judge the world. We may not like thinking about this, but the Bible stated that “God has appointed a day in which He will judge the world” (Acts 17:31). Each of us will personally meet with God one day. We will either meet Him in ours sins and be judged by Him, or we will meet Him in Heaven with our sins already forgiven. How we will meet Him, the, depends on whether we have put our faith in the Son of God during this life. “Whoever believes in Him (the Son of God) is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already (John 3:18).
Have you made a “God” of your own liking, a “God” who resembles a physician, a watchmaker, or a Santa Claus? If so, then you have turned things upside down. Your “God” exists only in your imagination. He is not the God of the Bible, or the God you will meet in eternity. To be ready to meet the true God you must prepare on His terms. What does this require? That you trust Christ as your personal Savior. If you neglect to do this you will meet God as your Judge and , forever bear the punishment for your offenses against Him.