The One & Only


There is no one like you, O LORD, and there is no God but you.
(1 Chronicles 17:20)

Being God must be kind of strange. For one thing, you’re the only one of you there is. It’s not like you’re merely unique, a distinct, divine snowflake among a gazillion other snowflakes. When you’re God you’re the only flake in town.

That’s probably one of the reasons God decided to create humans in his own image. He wanted some other flakes around. I don’t know for sure, but I’m guessing that he got a whole lot more flakiness than he’d bargained for. But even so, we’re only kind of flaky; God is Flake itself.

Since there is only one of God, you can’t exactly compare him to anything or anybody else. You can’t say God is like her or God is like that guy over there. He’s not like them at all, not even close. He’s not like a tree or the ocean or the sky. He’s not like anything except himself. When you’re infinitely whatever God is infinitely of, you’re not like something or even better than something; you’re just plain different.

This is a problem when we want to talk about God. Heck, it’s even a problem when God wants to talk about God. When he appears to Moses at the burning bush, the best he can muster when Moses asks “Who are you?” is “I am who I am.” Sheesh. Is this God or Popeye the Sailor Man? Talk about an ontological feedback loop. You can almost hear the angels screaming.

confusedHis son Jesus also has a hard time explaining the God thing to the sheep on the streets. At one point he seems to struggle to find the right analogy. “What is the kingdom of God like?” he asks himself. “What shall I compare it to?” And what does the Son of God end up comparing his kingdom to? Mustard and yeast. That’s right, folks, mustard and yeast. Apparently the kingdom of God is a lot like a hot dog. I relish the thought.

And later, when Jesus tries to explain himself to his hand-picked disciples, it’s like he trips and falls into a thesaurus:

JESUS: “Okay guys, listen up.  I am a shepherd, right? Uh . . . let’s see . . . I am . . . bread. Wait a minute. Uh, I am the . . . the road—no, the way—I am the way. Or maybe I’m a door! Yeah, that’s it. I’m a door—actually I’m the door, like the only door. You know what I mean? Are you guys getting any of this?”

For the past 2000 years people have been trying to help God explain himself. High points of this enterprise include the Nicene Creed, the Crusades, the Inquisition, snake handling, creation science, Westboro Baptist Church, Lady Gaga, Joel Osteen, and the Veggie Tales.

I figure the best way to deal with God is just to let him be God and let the explanatory chips fall where they may. What I’ve learned about him so far—which isn’t a whole lot—is that he mostly likes his job, has a quirky sense of humor, works most weekends, and tends to cheat. So far I like him a lot.


2 Responses

  1. u should say it really seems like God cheats to us. God does not cheat, Fred.

  2. Hi, Fred….Love your questions and thoughts on what God is like. A much better questions than the traditional, “who is God?” Like you, I’m still in the swamp of understanding all this. The Popeye quote is what I was raised on. Not much help.

    But here is one I’ve overlooked. When Moses got up the nerve to ask God to show him His glory, God declined (since to show it would be to kill Moses) BUT God did agree to show Moses all his “goodness.” He did it by sticking Moses in a cave and passing by one morning. And what did Moses see? We don’t know since Moses didn’t say. However, Moses did record what God said about Himself: In the NIV, “The Lord, the Lord, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin and yet just, punishing the guilty” to many generations.

    So what does this mean? God, while invisible, has a character or personality we can know. He is, for example, a patient fellow, (slow to anger) and for that I’m grateful.

    Your reaction to this text? thanks, Dave

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