God of Truth

space time continuum with duplicate earths

Alternate Reality – pic by Victor Habbick

“If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (John 8:31-32)

I love a good allegory!  Something about a brief fictional story can really drive home a point without the encumbrances of all the emotional attachment to the truth of a real-life situation.  Since Jesus used parables to illustrate spiritual truths, I figure I’m in good company.

I also like discussing hypothetical situations.  Even though the conversations can sometimes get a bit bizarre, discussing hypothetical situations can really help in exploring what we truly believe and why.

Lately, though, I’ve felt convicted about using a hypothetical situation to make an authoritative statement about the character of God.  It’s something I’ve heard done a lot, and have sometimes done myself.  However, I’ve become convinced that these theoretical statements do not always glorify God.

Let me give you three examples of hypothetical statements about God’s character that are fairly common in evangelical circles, and use them to illustrate why I see them as an issue.

Had you been the only person on earth, Jesus would have still died for you. He loves you that much.

How do we know that and why is it relevant?  Since I’m not the only person on earth, it doesn’t really matter what Jesus would have done if I was.  More importantly, how can I make authoritative statements like this based on situations that do not exist and about which the Bible does not comment?

What I do know is that when there were only two people on earth in need of redemption, God chose to wait several thousand years, until there were a lot more people on earth, before sending Jesus to die for the salvation of the entire human race.

However, the fact that He waited does not, in the least, take away from His infinite love for Adam and Eve, nor does the fact that He died for the sins of the world minimize His love for me personally.

Had you been the only person on earth and Jesus knew that you would reject him, he would still have died for you. He loves you that much.

Really?  This one makes the same hypothetical assumptions as the previous, but adds that even if He knew I would reject Him, He would still have died for just me.

Frankly, I don’t think so.  This one just doesn’t ring true, even in the hypothetical reality of the discussion.  We minimize the incredible sacrifice of Christ when we make statements like this.  Do we really think that Jesus would have left the glory of Heaven, dwelt among men, and died on the cross, just to make a statement…knowing His tremendous sacrifice would be of no benefit to anyone?

I feel silly even debating such a surreal hypothesis, but that one just doesn’t make any sense!  Jesus didn’t die just to die…He agonized over that decision in the Garden…it was not an easy choice for Him.  He acted out of love…for our salvation…not just to make a statement.

I would gladly give my life to save my child’s life, but I would not give my life just to prove a point…and I don’t believe Jesus would have either.

Had God changed his Mind and given Jesus the option of not dying for you, he still would have.  He loves you that much.

In this statement, not only are we creating an alternate reality to try to prove a point about the nature of God that may or may not be true, but we are actually changing the nature of God to adapt to our hypothetical situation.

Had God changed His mind…  Really?  We’re going to presume that the Father loves us less in order to prove the Son loves us more?  We’re going to treat the mind of God as something that changes, and the plans of God from the foundation of the world as though they shift with the breeze, for the purpose of illustrating a point about our presumptions of God’s nature?

Had God…given Jesus the option of not dying for you…  The statement assumes that God didn’t allow Jesus to make that choice…and the assumption does not match the truth of the reality.

Here’s the reality.  God did allow Jesus to make that choice, and Jesus chose to die for your salvation!  How could such a trumped-up hypothetical situation possibly compare to the gloriously true reality of Christ’s love for you?

Folks, God does not live in a hypothetical situation, or an alternate reality.  He lives and works in the grit and grime of the here and now.  He doesn’t tell us what would have been if.  He tells us what was, what is, and what will be.

God did not lift us up to the reality of Heaven.  Rather, He came down to experience the reality of earth, and lived in the filthy misery of a world under Satan’s dominion populated by humans who, for the most part, do not follow God’s will.

And in the midst of the harsh realities of this world, He demonstrated His love for us in a much more beautiful and practical way than could ever have been done in any hypothetical reality.

The God of truth does not need our hypothetical alternate realities to illustrate His true nature…He already did that in the harsh reality of a wooden cross.

What are some other hypothetical statements we should consider abandoning?

[linked to God-Bumps , Beholding Glory , Graceful , Seedlings , Wellspring ]

16 thoughts on “God of Truth

  1. I agree! In fact I consider it extremely dangerous to define God in human terms. The only way life makes sense is if you accept that God’s viewpoint and God’s plan is beyond our comprehension. If we even go so far as to try to guess why some people die and others are rescued, we are in over our heads. God does not see death as we see it. He does not see life as we see it. He DOES understand how we see it and is there to help us through.

    • Very true, Jonathan! While exploring the heart of God is a worthwhile endeavor, we must accept that we will never understand Him, but only marvel at His greatness.

      I am so thankful that He does understand how we see life and is there to help us through!

      Thank you!

  2. Thank you for your comments on my recent post.
    I always enjoy your analogies. I wonder if Adam and Eve would be standing with me looking at the cross – if Jesus was willing to die for me if I was the only person. Lots of curious questions here.

    • “Would have if” questions in relation to God, seem to have neither definitive answers nor relevance, do they, Hazel?

      Thanks for the input. Love the post on your blog, earlier this week!

      Blessings!

  3. You have me thinking here. A lot. …

    I’ve heard that first statement, in particular, repeatedly. I get what the point is. The statement is attempting to show us how much that Jesus loves each of us individually. But I do know that we (and I also add “I” here) need to be careful when we add details to Scripture.

    Thank you for your thought-provoking post.

    • I know, same here, Jennifer! I’ve heard it a lot and liked how it seemed to bring things to such a personal level. I’ve even used it a few times, myself, when presenting the gospel…but felt a prick of conscience in realizing if questioned I had no scriptural basis for the statement.

      I’ve concluded that God doesn’t need me to “fudge the facts” in order to demonstrate His very personal love for each of us.

      Thanks for your input and feedback!

  4. Sometimes we get so caught up in trying to get our point across we forget one of the most important features of sharing truth is to speak truth. There is more than enough truth in scripture to minister to any situation but if I get carried away in a point or use a tired cliché I can miss the mark. Over reaching statements that have no factual basis stand to do more harm than good!

    • “Sometimes we get so caught up in trying to get our point across we forget one of the most important features of sharing truth is to speak truth.”

      I think that’s it, exactly, Michael! These statements are well intended, in an effort to reveal a truth about God, but they over-reach to using a false or presumptious statement for the purpose of trying to reveal truth…

      Thanks for the input!

  5. I’ve often been uncomfortable, too, with some of those hypothetical situations we conjure up. What’s the point? The truth is as beautiful as it comes; I’ll stick with that. Thanks, Joe.

    • “The truth is as beautiful as it comes”

      Yes! The truth of God’s love for us is so incredibly amazing! There should be no need to attempt to enhance it…

      Thank you, Lisa!

  6. You really hit something that has bothered me, too — perhaps a little too secretly? I hear the first hypothetical declaration a lot, and think like you: “How do you know that, and why is it relevant?” (Although I suspect it’s because in our culture we have an overinflated sense of our own individual importance/centrality to start with.) The other two statements, well, they seem too out of touch with God’s character to even think about. Why isn’t the huge and amazing Truth enough? I’m glad you wrote about this.

    • “I suspect it’s because in our culture we have an overinflated sense of our own individual importance”

      Good point, Sylvia! I hadn’t really thought about it that way.

      It takes a pretty narcistic bent to feel compelled to require Christ’s sacrifice to be for each of us individually rather than for all of us corporately, doesn’t it?

      Thanks!

  7. Lots of food for thought. I’ve heard those statements many times. How careless we get in all of our “supposing.” Jesus did die for us…and for that I’m ever so grateful. Gratitude that cannot begin to be enough for His sacrifice.

    • “Jesus did die for us…and for that I’m ever so grateful.”

      That’s really the bottom line, isn’t it, Pamela? No need to attempt to enhance that wondrous truth with suppositions…just respond in gratitude.

      Thanks for the insight!

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