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On The Worship of God
September 30, 2004
I am quite often asked why I would care to devote so much time and effort to the defense of a Reformed view of Christianity. A few days ago, for example, I received an email asking if it really matters what we believe on the issue of open theism. After all, either way we are worshipping God and what we happen to believe about Him and His attributes doesn’t change Him. He stays the same regardless of what mere humans believe about Him.
I believe, as evidenced by much of the writing I have done on this site, that a proper view of God is important. As a matter of fact, I would go so far as to say that a proper view of God is of the utmost importance. There is a movement afoot that seeks to reduce God so that His attributes more closely resemble our own. Those parts of God that trouble us or make us uncomfortable are changed to be more human.
Open theism is one example of a system of doctrine that has done this very thing. Because the human mind is incapable of truly understanding what God’s omniscience entails and because the understanding we are capable of troubles our minds, this understanding of God has been changed. God no longer knows everything, but rather knows only what He wants to know. This reduces God to a spectator in our lives, for He knows only what the consequences of our actions will be, not which actions we will take. The doctrine of God’s omniscience, which ought to be a source of great comfort for the believer, but is also terrifying in its consequences, is made more palatable to the human mind.
I am reminded of a quote by A.W. Pink who said words that are as applicable to this century as they were to last: “The ‘god’ of this twentieth century no more resembles the Supreme Sovereign of Holy Writ than does the dim flickering of a candle the glory of the midday sun.” We have shaped God to a form that suits us. I believe the root of this is simply that we define God in our own terms, as a reflection of humanity, rather than defining us as a reflection Him. Luther saw this problem in his own day and said “your thoughts of God are too human.” We cannot understand and define God in mere human terms.
It is critical, then, that we understand God as He has revealed Himself. Read these words of Charles Spurgeon:
Nothing will so enlarge the intellect, nothing will so magnify the whole soul of man, as a devout, earnest, continued investigation of the great subject of the Deity. Would you lose your sorrow? Would you drown your cares? Then go, plunge yourself in the Godhead’s deepest sea; be lost in his immensity; and you shall come forth as from a couch of rest, refreshed and invigorated. I know nothing which can so comfort the soul; so calm the swelling billows of sorrow and grief; so speak peace to the winds of trial, as a devout musing upon the subject of the Godhead.
These men understood that a proper, biblical view of God is of great importance. When we worship the ‘god’ of our own age, the ‘god’ we have shaped in our own image, we miss out on worshipping the Sovereign, Holy God of the Bible.