God is a very creative guy

It’s mildly distressing that I read the Bible much more closely when I’m doing it for a class than when I’m reading it for myself. Maybe I’m seeing new insights because I’m reading a different translation, so the same worn-out stories don’t look the same anymore. But I’m really being struck by what I’m reading today. The God of the Bible is far different from any other gods. There’s really no way you can say Christianity is similar to other religions.

For instance, let’s take a quick look at Genesis 18. “The LORD appeared again to Abraham while he was camped near the oak grove belonging to Mamre. One day about noon, as Abraham was sitting at the entrance to his tent, he suddenly noticed three men standing nearby” (NLT). As the passage continues, you quickly realize that these three men are God. Perhaps it’s the trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. But what’s amazing is that it sounds like they’re all there, chatting with Abraham (and being overheard by his wife). How could God do this unless he was in some humanlike form?

Verse 22 says, “The other two men went on toward Sodom, but the LORD remained with Abraham for a while.” This implies that the LORD was one of the three men. Men. God is just a like a human. Well, I guess it’s really the other way around. Man was created in God’s image, so in that sense, we’re like God. How weird! I’d never really seen it this way before.

When Sarah overhears one of the three men saying that she will have a son, she laughs. Starting from verse 13…

“Then the LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, ‘Can an old woman like me have a baby?’ Is anything too hard for the LORD? About a year from now, just as I told you, I will return, and Sarah will have a son.” Sarah was afraid, o she denied that she had laughed. But he said, “That is not true. You did laugh.”

We see some info about the LORD thinking whether he should hide his plan from Abraham. How strange it is to consider how the LORD thinks! When the LORD tells Abraham, “I have heard that the people of Sodom and Gomorrah are extremely evil, and that everything they do is wicked. I am going down to see whether or not these reports are true. Then I will know.” God heard? Since when were there so many things he did not immediately know? Perhaps God can know everything, but he chooses not to. In this case, at least, he physically goes over to see if the reports are true. Now, see how vast the universe is. How is it that God can focus his attention on such a tiny spot on the Earth? It must be like less than a speck of dust in the grand scheme of things!

Abraham goes on to argue with God, bargaining for the sake of the good people who may be in the city of Sodom which the LORD is planning to destroy. By the way, what’s the difference between the LORD and God? I don’t know: that’s an open question for you. Anyway, Abraham starts at 50 and bargains the LORD down to saving the city for the sake of 10.

When Lot’s wife looks back, she turns into a pillar of salt. This in itself is weird, and kind of funny. Why would God choose to make her a pillar of salt?

Look at all of this. It seems to me that God is a very creative guy. I had always thought that people were creative. After all, man (by man, I mean mankind) creates all kinds of creative works and says all kinds of creative things. We have amazing imaginations. We draw paintings, create art, and compose music. We come up with clever jokes and sarcastic one-liners. But God created us. He knows all about these things. He knows all the jokes humans have said through the ages, and he knows about the latest technology we’re coming up with. How crazy is that?

For some reason, I’d imagined the realm of creativity to be uniquely human. After all, no animals are nearly as creative. No plants or bacteria could ever create the complex works of art that we do, or construct the huge buildings or architect the fine bridges we have. I thought God was just like nature. It all first together, but it’s not incredibly creative in the sense that humans are creative, I thought. Well, I now believe I was wrong. God is one very creative guy.

4 Responses to “God is a very creative guy”

  1. The three “men” tht Abram met couldn’t have been God, for man cannot see God and live. Three beings, even hevenly beings cannot be God , for God is one.
    If God is a trinity who was Jesus father? The gospels tell us that Mary concieved Jesus by the Holy Spirit so why doesn’t Jesus call the holy Spirit his father.
    there is only one God; John 17:3;Matt. 11:27; Luke 10:22; Ps 2:7-12; Prov30:4

  2. Sam says:

    Your Bible, in its preface or somewhere in the beginning pages, may explain the difference between the English names for God. LORD, IIRC, is written in English whenever YHWH is used in the Hebrew. Lord (not caps) is Adonai in Greek, and it was also used in situations not referring to God (lord, master).

  3. Michael says:

    The 3 who appear as men are distinctly referred to separately from the LORD, GOD. This is most evident in versus 22, where the “men” continued on to Sodom, but the LORD remained with Abraham.

  4. Matt Miller says:

    Looking past the terminology debates (what is clear is that the Lord revealed himself to and interacted with Abraham) I appreciate the meat of this post. I like how God often does the unexpected.

    Thanks for blogging. You’ve both solved a computer problem AND helped me to focus on God and reflect on his nature tonight.

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