The Creature Perspective
I haven’t posted in a while. Life has twists and turns and they take their impact on what can be accomplished in a day’s time. Tonight I am going to post some thoughts that I have had about the inability of humans to understand the concept of God’s holiness. I am not in bad company with my struggles to comprehend what that looks like. RC Sproul and AW Tozer are two men that I have turned to in my attempts to get a better grip of that concept and they have wrestled with that concept as well.
As creatures created by the Creator, we are left with but one perspective – that of fallible flesh grasping after the infallible.
We are used to describing things. I would say that it is a God-given call since He asked man (Adam) to name the animals. We naturally label things – we name them. The problem with our present abilities with describing things is that we contextualize our perceptions of the thing being described. Let me give you an example.
Imagine that you are walking down the street and you see a little girl eating an ice cream cone. A big, purple smile is painting her face as she eats the raspberry chip flavored delight that is in her hand.
It would be easy to describe the girl as being happy and that the happiness is a direct consequence of the ice cream. In the back of our mind, it wouldn’t be hard to imagine what would happen if the girl were to drop her ice cream on the ground. For the sake of the rest of my explanation on contextualization, let’s assume that we know the girl’s name is Susie.
Based on my hypothetical situation, I can propose the following issues with the human ability to understand God’s holiness.
- Qualify: We look for reasons why situations exist. With the Susie, we qualified her happiness by the presence of ice cream.
- Quantify: We expect that there are varying degrees to the state of things. Susie seemed to be extremely happy with the raspberry chip flavor, but would she have been as happy with vanilla?
- Transitional: We don’t expect things to stay the way they are. We understand that when the ice cream is gone, whether by accident or by consumption, that Susie’s happiness will dissipate. In the chance that it is an accidental loss, her transitional state may be extreme.
- Meaningless Labels: We accept and expect that some labels are non-descriptive. The girl’s name is Susie – a label that does not describe her. Its just a mechanism by which we can separate her from the girl next door.
No wonder it can be so hard to get our minds around the thought of God’s holiness… especially when it transcends our ability to contextualize.
God is holy. Period. His holiness does not have to be qualified. We don’t have to seek a reason behind His holiness.
His holiness doesn’t ramp up or down based on circumstances. It is an eternal, absolute state.
He cannot transition from holiness to some other aspect. In His love, He is holy. In His anger, He is holy. In His compassion, He is holy. And in His judgment, He is holy.
Finally, his holiness is not a meaningless label. We can’t limit Him by thinking of His holiness as a way to separate Him from the unholy gods. The most accepted definition of holy is Set Apart. And, He IS.
As I have studied this concept, I looked to the bible for insight and Exodus chapter 3 has lead me to believe that understanding the holiness of God is impossible without experiencing it. Read about Moses’ encounter with God through the burning bush and really look into what happens in those first 6 verses. Moses was 80 years old and well acquainted with the concepts of religion and God. but look for yourself at how he responded in verse 6 to the holiness of God.