What if you held to a theology whose goal was to make sure God was held up? What I mean is, what if God depended on “US” to make sure that His existence was necessary. You might look at me like I was crazy, or think that I was joking. The thing is, I’m not! You see most of Western theology (of which both Roman Catholicism and Protestantism spring) has talked about God in terms that make the shape of His being contingent on the shape of creation. In other words, when we look out at creation, and muse that whatever “created” this (i.e. God) must be all powerful, all knowing, etc.; thus the “necessary” cause whom has the ability to create. But do you see the problem with this line of thought? Doesn’t this make God’s person determined to be what it is by what creation is? So that God is not truly “free,” i.e. free to be self-determined; instead who God is, in this scheme of things, is predicated upon creation. In this construct God’s being is shackled to creation so that He no longer is “free” to be who He is apart from creation. The goal of such thinking is not to necessarily undercut a genuine approach to thinking about God; but in its endeavor to “establish” an idea of “God,” it results in “creating a god” who is not trinity (e.g. a concept of “godness” is created). In other words, when we look out at creation, more specifically, man, and we look at what areas man is lacking (i.e. he is finite, not all powerful, not all knowing); and then use these deficiencies, or gaps, as the framework for conceiving of God (i.e. He is what man is not), then we have just ‘held up’ a concept of what God should look like. Once we have achieved this, then we are able to integrate the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit into this concept of “God.” This approach of doing things is called “negative theology,” and notoriously has been the approach of the Western church (this is the ‘bottom up’ approach to doing theology).

Do you see how crazy this is? Instead of letting God tell us who He is, we decide what shape God should be; before we ever get to His own self-disclosure in Christ. It is in this sense that we “hold up” God. He becomes a “super-man,” something that we all would like to be without all of our self-identifiable weaknesses (which then become the definition for God, just reminding you 😉 ). Next time we will talk about who GOD has determined Himself to be . . .

***For a very nice discussion of this (very articulate and deep), listen to John Webster***