Sober since April 6, 2006


Friday, March 24, 2006

Stuck on Step 2: Rationalizing The Nature of God?

A belief in a "Higher Power" or "God as you understand him" is a cornerstone of AA. It's the second step: "We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity."

I think the existence of God is obvious to anyone who studies the complexities of the universe. Check out biology, astronomy, or physics. The deeper you go into those studies, the more apparent it becomes that some all-powerful, meticulous being set everything into place and prevents it from all collapsing into itself. (If you don't see it, you haven't gone deep enough yet).

I was raised to be a Christian. I spent most of my life loving God, praying, and worshipping God. I never stopped believing that God existed, but I think I stopped believing that God cares. What happened? I don't know.

I've been drilling into my head recently the part about a "power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity". It's stupid to believe that God is too puny to restore my sanity, since I believe He's powerful enough to create and sustain the universe. That's just silly and egotistical. It's illogical, but that's exactly what I have been believing ... and I don't understand WHY I'm stuck on it.

In Chapter 5 of the Big Book, it says:

Our description of the alcoholic, the chapter to the agnostic, and our personal adventure before and after make clear three pertinent ideas:

(a)That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives.

(b)That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism.

(c)That God could and would if He were sought.

I'm stuck at the second half of part C. I know that God "could" ... but "would" He?

After thinking about it more and more, it has been made clear to me that rationalizing God's basic existence is possible. But rationalizing our conception of His nature is difficult, if not impossible. But I'm going to try anyway ...

We could believe that God is a loving, wonderful being who heals us all and makes everyone happy ... but ... God simply doesn't heal us all or make everyone happy.

We could believe that God is a hateful, spiteful, angry being that wants to inflict as much pain as possible ... but ... there are too many happy people in the world for that to be the case.

We could believe that God is completely emotionless and calculating -- a being that simply created the universe and administers its existence ... but ... if he had no emotion, he would not have created emotional human beings.

So where God's existence can be rationalized in science and nature, His personality is not readily observable.

The Bible portrays God's personality in many lights:

He destroys, but He also creates;

He gets angry, but He also shows mercy;

He allows injury, but He also provides healing;

He allows evil to exist, but He also provides deliverance from it.

Sounds alot like a human being.

No human being is ever "100% completely angry" all the time. We get mad, but even the most grumpy will be happy on occasion. No human being is ever "100% completely vengeful" all the time. Even the most hateful people will show mercy when they see a good reason to have compassion on someone. No human being is ever "100% completely emotionless" and calculating. Even the most stoic human beings have at one time cracked a smile or shed a tear.

So thinking that God is "100% (insert emotion here)" is most likely incorrect. As human emotion and disposition vary dynamically according to situation, then wouldn't God's temperament also vary dynamically?

Sure, a person will get angry on occasion, but that doesn't mean that they are "An angry, vengeful person", right? So if God gets angry on occasion, then it is inaccurate to say that He's "An angry, vengeful God".

So that brings us back to the nature of God in general: What is God like? Or more important for the alcoholic -- "Would God be willing to help me?"

The more I think about it, the more it seems rational that He would be willing to help.

(Sorry for this long, senseless ramble. Sometimes it just helps to "think out loud".)

1 comment:

Mom said...

Allie.... This was GREAT. I love you so much!