Wednesday, 3 September 2008

God is Not the One Who Pushes the First Domino

St John's Chapel, Exodus 3:1-15, the great 'I AM.'

Here is how one of the arguments for the existence of God goes. Here I am, but there is a cause as to how I got here, and a cause behind that, behind that, behind that.... until we get to God. (I had a line of dominos to push over, starting from the first domino to elucidate the point.)

And the question that comes to mind immediately? Who caused God.

Exactly. And that's why the proof doesn't work.

Except it is not the argument that Christianity developed. We don't think God is one cause among many, who just happens to be the first cause next to the first domino.

I'll come back to this.

Turning to the story today. God has heard the cry of the people, the cry of the oppressed, and God intends to free them from their slavery and lead them into a prosperous land flowing with milk and honey. Moses is a bit non-plussed by it all, and asks for God's name. And God says, "I AM".

Strange; it is incomplete. "I am a man, I am Warren Huffa, I am human, I am not a chair, etc; all these are sensible and complete. They define who I am, and do this partly by defining that I am not you, not that chair, etc. But "I AM"?

God just is. God is already complete. God doesn't need to define God's self any further, no need to define God's self over against something else. God just is.God doesn't need us to be complete. This stretches our theological imagination. Christianity thinks of God as absolutely full, with no need to define Godself in relationship to you or I, no need to compete with you or I.

Go back to the example of the dominoes. God is not therefore the one who starts the dominoes off. God is more like the reason why there are any dominoes at all. What pushes them over is as natural as the dominoes themselves. [This means that belief in God is not an alternative to science in explaining the functioning of the universe.]

When you next come to chapel I am going to use this in a subtle piece of theology, but a life transforming one.

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