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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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____________
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
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...
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.