Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Dad Shaped Vacuum...

Yesterday I quoted Blaise Pascal's famous statement about the imprint of God in humanity and how we search for it's replacement for all our days. Pascal was making the point that, since we are created in the image of God, and created for a deep relationship with him, we will never find real peace until we have the relationship He desired and intended.
This statement of Pascal is most often referred to as "The God-Shaped Vacuum".  (A term not found in Pascal's quote)
The principle is that we were created by God's personal touch. We have body, soul and spirit...just like He does. In this way we differ from all of Creation. In the Garden, before the fall, we had a perfect relationship with Him. He went for walks with Adam in the cool of the evening. When Adam and Eve fell, this relationship was severed. Every subsequent generation since Adam and Eve--though still created by God's Hand (Psalm 139)--has missed this intimacy. The problem is that while are all still made in His image, as they were. So we have yet to experience the relationship we were built for. None of us have ever walked with God physically. We have experienced Him...through nature, art, the smile of a baby...but we have never actually had a physical, face to face, relationship with Him. (I am assuming here that those reading my blog know of my faith and know I am presuming the readers acceptance of Christianity and it's spiritual relationship with God through faith in Christ...either by experience or at least second hand knowledge).
Adam and God sat down and chatted. They took meandering walks together through the garden. They were friends.
God had this desire for us all until Adam and Eve derailed this plan (Or actually started the whole plan of Redemption by their fall...depending on your view of Dispensationalism). What God had with them was what He desires with us all...right now. The problem is that we filter everything we believe. Everything.
We filter through the teaching of the Bible, and our parents. We filter through our education, and our desires. We filter through our loves, and our weaknesses, and our vices and our strengths. And because we have never actually seen God...we filter Him through what we can see and what we do know.
God most frequently refers to Himself as "Our Father". Often it's "Our Heavenly Father" occasionally it's "Abba" which is the Hebrew / Greek for "Poppa" or Daddy. He is "The Father of Lights" and the "Father of us all". But ultimately He sees Himself as, longs to be known as, and desires to be our Father.
The problem is two-fold. One: What does it look like for God to be our Father? How do we relate to an unseen being, as we would relate to someone who is supposed to be so beloved as a father? What's the model? Where is the archetype?
That sets up problem number Two: The closest model to God the Father we have on earth is our own earthly father. We relate to God directly the way we relate to our earthly father.
I made this statement yesterday and I know it stirred much thought.
I will conclude here for the day. But I want to leave you with two exercises. Two little "Homework assignments" if you will.
The first is an exercise my own daughter did in pre-school for Fathers Day. The second is an exercise I did in counseling many years ago.
The first is a short questionnaire. It was funny when my then-four year old filled in the blanks. But I think it is telling for us now. The questionnaire goes like this:

My dad is ________ years old
My Dad is ________ feet tall
My Dad weighs__________
My dad's favorite TV shows are_________
My favorite place my dad takes me is_________
When we go there we always get___________
I like to watch my dad___________
My dad always tells me____________

Your assignment is to fill this out twice. Once as best you can with your own dad as the Subject. And once...with as many questions as will apply (use your imagination on some of them) with God the Father as the Subject.

Your second assignment is this. Take a sheet of paper and list out all the descriptives you can think of about your dad. Good, bad, indifferent. Words like "Kind" "Tough" "distant" "smart" ...you get the picture. Paint a word-picture of your father.

Tomorrow we apply it...

*A note going forward. I would ask my evangelical friends to please be patient. Don't presume that if I seem to be leaving out some issues of the healing God offers in this issue, I am ignoring it altogether. You have to spot the problem to fix the problem.

No comments: