How God Identifies Himself
It’s interesting how God defines himself. He told Moses that he is the God of your fathers; the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. He did not define himself by his omnipotence or his omniscience but by his personal relationships with these common men. (source)
So reflects Albert Cardinal Vanhoye, leader of the Roman Curia’s Lenten retreat. I think that is absolutely fascinating because for many skeptics, God’s omnipotence and omniscience are not only God’s defining characteristics, but the logical basis by which many of them reject Him. The presence of an omnipotent and omniscient being can only lead to fatalism in their minds, regardless of the number of times that I’ve seen Christians refute this notion.
This is the ontological argument in reverse. Because the skeptic cannot conceive of how an omnipotent and omniscient being could exist within the framework of this universe, no such being can exist. Since God would be such a being, God does not exist.
But God doesn’t identify Himself on the basis of these characteristics. He identifies Himself on the basis of His relationship to His creation. How much more should we, then, identify ourselves on the basis of our relationship to Him. I think that the real problem is that the skeptic is ruled by his sin–and his sin is how he defines “fun.” Drinking, gambling, drugs, premarital sex–all of these things are “fun,” but all of these things have consequences.
Defining oneself on the basis of one’s relationship to God will have consequences, too. One must focus his thoughts on what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and commendable (Phil 4:8)–and it is easy to conclude even without a Bible (cf. Gal 5:16-24) that those things I just defined as “fun” from a secular point of view do not fit with that mode of thinking.
Defining oneself on the basis of a relationship with God brings with it freedom from sin (cf. Rom 6:14). Paul exhorts us not to use that freedom for sin, “but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another” (Gal 5:13-14).
So, brothers and sisters in Christ, if God identifies Himself on the basis of a relationship to His creatures, why do the creatures not identify themselves on basis of a relationship to Him?