I want to be God.
I discovered this in college. Actually, what I found out is that I happen to want to be God in a particular way–specifically I wanted to know everything. In a sense, there was one attribute of God’s that I coveted, desired for myself most: omniscience. There are times that I’ve wanted to know things with a sort of desperation. I look at stacks of books and feel crushed with the weight of all that I have yet to read and discover. To those that know me, this might sound funny. “Oh Derek, you and your books.” Honestly though, the sense of incompleteness and inadequacy can be tormenting–especially in light of the fact I know I will never have the time, energy, or resources to even come close to the end of my studies.
I have this theory that we all do this to some degree–we have certain attributes of God we want more. Some of us want to be everywhere at once. We have this constant feeling that we’re missing out on something, so we try to be all places at all times as much as possible so we don’t miss a thing. Others of us want to be eternal–there never seems to be enough time to accomplish everything on our checklist. We dream of bending time to our will so that we’re not limited to the 18-20 hours of the day we’re up for. Then, there are those of us who want God’s power. We strain at the edges of our human possibilities and strive to attain those things that are just beyond our grasp. In fact, we hate the idea that there might exist anything “beyond our grasp.” Of course, there are the control freaks–people who want total sovereignty of their lives, securing themselves by making sure that all goes according to their perfect plan. The list could easily go on.
As I’ve sat back and reflected on this a bit over the years, I’ve realized that all of these desires, in some way, are a rejection of our finitude–don’t like being limited beings. Now, of course the Bible has told us for thousands of years that ever since the Garden we’ve all been striving to be God. The Teacher has said that God has put “eternity in our hearts” (Eccles. 3:11). God made us in his Image (Gen 1:26), but apparently that wasn’t good enough. We didn’t just want to reflect God’s glory, we wanted to have it. We didn’t want to depend on God for good and evil, we wanted to “know” it/determine it for ourselves. (Gen. 3:5) The lie that we believed is that we can be god-like apart from God.
In a way, the issue is about one attribute, very much ignored in popular preaching–that of God’s aseity, or self-sufficiency. God has “life in himself” and is dependent on no one and nothing outside of his glorious, infinite, Triune self. (John 5:26; Ac 17:24-25; Rom 11:35-36) He doesn’t need anything. He is blessedly complete in the infinite perfection of his own life. This is what we want when we strive for all of the other attributes–to be the source of our own blessedness.
The truth of the matter though, is that there are only two ways of possessing infinite good: either it is yours inherently (God) or you receive it from him. This is true down to the ontological level–you can’t even keep yourself in existence if he doesn’t will it. The upshot of this is that we can either strive to be infinite ourselves (and fail miserably), or gain it by being rightly related to the infinite one through Christ. See, the very “great promises” of the Gospel is that through faith in Christ we can “become partakers of the divine nature” (2 Pet 1:4), as God redeems us from sin and grows us further in holiness and righteousness through the Spirit. In other words, this doesn’t happen by our striving for self-achieved autonomy–it happens by grace, by depending on God’s favor, looking to him alone for all of our good in Christ.
A few words then for you God-strivers:
- If you thirst for knowledge, let God teach you the depths of knowledge and wisdom in Christ. (Col. 2:3)
- If you long for eternity, set your hope on God’s promised future in Christ. (Rom 6:23)
- If you strive to be present everywhere, remember that God has appointed the time and place where you would be born and live that you might reach out and find Christ. (Acts 17:26-27)
- If you scramble for sovereignty, don’t be afraid to lose control of your life, and receive it back as a gift through Christ. (Matt 16:24-27)
Finally, if that isn’t enough: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” (Jas 1:17) So let him be the source of your blessedness today.
Soli Deo Gloria