Thursday, September 18, 2014

God of Speed?

I may have been accused, from time to time, of being a bit overly intellectual. I imagine it's a fair criticism to say I live more in the realm of ideas than of action. Still, even I find it humorous how often and to what degree some people take conversations about God.

There's the tired philosophical questions - can God create a rock so large even God cannot lift it? - which only illustrate the need some of us have for logic and precision. Science and Math do teach us that such intellectual pursuits can bear fruit in the real world... if we have our assumptions right.

It's those particular assumptions that might just need questioning. I recently saw a random, unserious internet post about God being very, very fast (something like - God delivers faster than dominos). It got me thinking about the ways in which we categorize God's abilities and, more importantly, why would we ever need a God who can do everything better than anyone else?

There is the old argument for God's existence that says God is that which nothing greater than can be imagined. Thus, however one conceives of God, that God be real would be greater than that God being imaginary.

There are obvious problems with this argument, which have likely been discussed to absurdity over the last 400 years. But, even if it's completely true, it only really deals with the reality of God.

I want to ask: What if someone could actually beat God in a footrace?

It would be easy to say that a God who is faster than anything else in the universe is "greater" than a God who is not - and thus it must be true. That just seems totally irrelevant.

Would a God with entirely un-superior speed change anything? Would it matter theologically or philosophically? No one claims God is more selfish than anyone else or more vindictive - at least not as philosophical imperatives, anyway. No one needs God to be supreme in traits we consider negative. We only need God to be the best in positives.

What constitutes a positive?

In what way is God's speed important for God's mission in the world? Would a flash-like deity be required so God's redemptive efforts can outpace the degradation of the world wrought by human selfishness? Could evil then, outrun God, essentially?

That seems far-fetched.

Ultimately, God created the world and God is working to finish that creation in the redemption of all things. My faith revolves around the notion that God is actually going to accomplish this mission. In other words, I believe - whatever God is, however we describe God - God is sufficient to see God's purposes accomplished.

If you look at things this way - let's say with a more practical, less theoretical bent - the conversations about speed or love or knowledge or power don't have quite the same bearing. Does it matter is God is fastest, most powerful, all-knowing; or does God just have to be sufficiently capable of bringing creation to completion? Whatever that may entail.

If God has to outrun evil, I'm sure God is fast enough to do so. I'm confident God knows whatever is necessary to know about the future for redemption to occur. I believe God loves enough to change the world.

I'm just not so sure comparisons or quantities are all that helpful.

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