No, God is not a nice concept we can figure out

Charis Tan // February 26, 2018, 3:01 pm


God is not one being split into three parts. He is three beings – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – united into one whole.

And because God is three beings, He can be love. Three beings in perfect communion, yielding impeccably to the wills and desires of one another. 

Humanity was formed in the cradle of perfect love, but when we broke away at the Fall, things started to fracture and fragment in the way we saw everything. Till today, we seem to approach God as if He’s in conflict with Himself.

Sometimes, I feel like in trying to wrap our minds around God, we segment Him and His character accordingly.

Jesus is straightforwardly merciful and sacrificial, while the Father is a bit more harsh and judgmental.

The Holy Spirit is kind of elusive and erratic, yet at the same time kind of predictable and formulaic. If you knew the right buttons to push in a worship service, you could try to make sure He shows up and “does stuff”.

Is God someone to be dissected and figured out so that we can get what we want?

Isn’t He someone to get to know and understand on a deep, relational level?

God is not a philosophy to be manipulated and grasped, but a Person with a personality far transcending any human in depth and complexity.

Maybe the way we treat God holds up a mirror to our own splintered selves. I suspect that we are so used to compartmentalising our own lives and faith we don’t even realise we are doing it. I catch myself doing it all the time too. Hypocrisy can be subtle, unconscious and conditioned.

For instance, how often have I as a musician prepared to lead worship in the most disgraceful manner? Forgetting that the act of worship is not a means to an end – “let’s do some worship to start things off” – it is an end in itself. The adoration of God is what we will spend eternity doing, and it starts from today – in every second of today. 

How often have I let God shift from a ‘who’ into a ‘what’? Forgetting that He is not a philosophy to be manipulated and grasped, but a Person with a personality far transcending any human in depth and complexity.

And how often have I grossly disrespected God in the way I’ve talked about Him with others, literally right in front of Him? Forgetting that our actions in themselves are never levers to move Him, to twist His arm. He sees straight through to our hearts, He knows the motives we conceal.

I’m on this journey – we all are. For the words on my mouth and the meditation of my heart to be one and the same (Psalm 19:14). I must ask myself constantly whether I am expressing His character with my lips but betraying how I truly perceive Him with my lifestyle.

So when I fight for things in this life, fight for people to see and know Him, for justice and fairness on this earth, I cannot afford to let it lapse into a fight for Him and against Him both at once. 

He’s been showing me that His judgment is an integral part of His mercy. In all of His judgments we can read mercy – if we read closely. In all of His judgments He fights for the broken-hearted and oppressed, and He fights for them more than we could ever imagine in our finite capacity.

In God’s righteousness we find both mercy and judgment, until gradually, we find mercy swallowing up judgment altogether. 

In God there is no insecurity or infighting.

Neither should there be in us. It is but fear and the mindless shuttling towards self-preservation that shatters the image of perfect love we were always made to bear.

“If we don’t care about personal holiness then we don’t care about justice at all.”
Raphael Zhang