Believing God is a little less Omni felt to me like a betrayal at first. To explain what I mean I will let you know that I was raised believing that God is all-knowing “omniscience,” all-present “omnipresence,” and all-powerful “omnipotence.”
It is hard to imagine any limitations on God without contradicting the pre-formed definitions of what a God must be. But what happens when those interpretations of God’s Omni powers are seen in the context of today’s reality? What conclusions must we come to when we believe that God CAN fix your situation but chooses not to? How should we answer the WHY behind Gods assumed decisions not to act?
It doesn’t take long for excuses like “God wants to test your faith” or “God is making it happen for his good” to wear thin on our sense of right and wrong. Children are sold into slavery, hurricanes wreck neighborhoods and terrorism continues to rise across the globe.
How, in the light of these truths, do we see an Omni-powerful God as a truly good God? Many Christians over the years create complicated interwoven systems of theology to make a nearly mathematical explanation as to how both can be true, but at best it seems pretty far fetched.
While my understanding of God can not be one in which his is truly all good, I have let go of the idea that he must be all-powerful. While God is the most powerful entity that has lived or ever will live, there seems to be some restraint on his ability to just zap away the evil of this world. I could speculate that the restraint is of his own making, but I just don’t know.
To explain this concept I will turn a little to Jesus explaining the parable of the weeds:
The Parable of the Weeds
24 He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, 25 but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weed among the wheat and went away. 26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also.27 And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, “Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”
I want to tell you how I view this parable, but before I do, I would like to talk about the beginning of the universe. It started out good. That’s part one of the story. In part one, the earth was beautiful, and everything just worked together. In part two, humans did something that opened a whole ton of evil into the world. It broke the world and the world became a place were super bad things like natural disasters and rapes and torture happen. It used not to be like this. In part three, a spiritual being came to earth with a great deal of re-guidance and instruction for the Jewish race that was to spread to all the world. This spiritual being started a revolution and has changed many peoples hearts and minds. He talked about a kingdom where the ultimate spiritual being would be truly in charge of a new and healthy world that didn’t have all this evil and death. He promised that there will be a fourth part to this story when things are made right again, “at the end of the age.”
Jesus, being the spiritual being in part three of the story, explains this kingdom in the parable of the weeds. He says that even though God created all this good, evil has slipped into the world, into the hearts of men and nature its self. When asked, does he want to destroy the weeds he chooses not to because he can not untwine the evil from the good. Destroying the evil would destroy the good. Why? I don’t know, but I may speculate. I know myself and see that I am both evil and good. I have done horrible things and really good things. If you zapped me dead in my horrible moments, there is a lot of good that I wouldn’t have been able to bring to people’s lives.
When I hold God as all good and all love, I don’t blame him or think he’s an egomaniac that is ok with people’s pain as long as it serves his purposes. I see the world that humans worked to destroy and God is working to restore. God is asking humans all over the world to partner with him in following the way of Jesus. If we did that, if we partnered with him to be the most loving, least offended, most giving and kindest people on the planet we can bring healing and restoration to people’s lives as we wait for the end of the age when all things are made new.