John Alan Turner

Speaker, Author, Mentor, Coach, Facilitator

God Is Not Like Us

I think the most common misconception about God is that he is like we would be if we had access to his resources. If I had his power, I might walk around looking for an excuse to annihilate someone. I'd flex my muscles every once in a while -- just because I could. If I had his knowledge, I might combine it with his power to coerce people into doing only what I want them to do, and I'd show up to bust people who tried to sneak around behind my back. I'd have strings attached to my benevolence. I'd use my creativity for utilitarian and self-serving purposes. I would set everything up so that everything went exactly the way I wanted it to go. Everyone I created would be a robot, doing only what I program them to do. I'd keep my promises as long as it was convenient. When it got uncomfortable or difficult, I'd break those promises and dare anyone to say anything.

First one to complain gets an anvil dropped on their face from 30,000 feet. Anyone else have anything to say?

If anyone dared step out of line, I'd turn petulant and moody, which is what I'm like anyway. The difference is I'd be extremely dangerous because I'd also be omnipotent. When people crossed me, I'd make it extremely difficult for them to make up for their sins -- that is, if I let them live at all.

I may be revealing more about myself than I should!

My point is, we tend to think of God as just a slightly smarter, way more powerful version of us. And this may be the biggest reason we have trouble trusting him enough to actually do what he asks us to do.

But God is not like us -- at least not in all the ways that drive us nuts about each other. He keeps his word because he's actually a thoroughly honest person. He creates stuff no one will ever see because creativity is bound up in his nature. He can't keep himself from creating things, and it doesn't matter to him if they serve a purpose or draw attention. He doesn't need anything, and that frees him up to live with integrity. He never asks himself stuff like, "What will make people like me more? And if I can't make them like me, what will make them fear me?"

God has no hidden agenda. There will be no "gotcha" moment. He's not trying to be obtuse or intentionally confusing. God is like the best person you know on that person's best day times about a million, and he's like that all day every day. And I think we know that deep down.

The question we have to ask ourselves is this: What if God is not like us? What if God is way better than we are? Would a God like that be worth following?