A substantial majority of people in our society say that they believe in God. And it doesn’t seem to matter whether the God they believe in is directly involved in human affairs or remote from them altogether. Either way, the object of belief still seems to be the all-powerful, all-knowing God of the theistic religions.
But believing that such a being exists is one thing. Trusting with one’s whole heart in such a being is another. To be sure, faith does involve believing something. But it is much more besides. “Trust” says it better than “belief” does.
Many people find it easier to put their trust in a God who is near at hand and in control than in a God who is far off and indifferent. But not everyone does. Recently, a friend of mine put it this way: as mucked up as our world is, I’m more comfortable believing in a God who has nothing to do with it than a God who’s supposed to be in charge of it.
It may be counter-intuitive to think that a God could truly be God who isn’t in control of everything. After all, more than a few believers ask, if he isn’t, what do we need him for?
For others, however, the more cogent question is: if God is in control of everything, what does he need us for? The answer to this question that makes the most sense to me is: for running the show here as best we can while God is off starting up new worlds for others to run, also in his absence.
But this kind of sense doesn’t lead to faith; it leads away from it.
Tradition to the contrary notwithstanding, “being in control of everything” isn’t much by way of describing a God worth glorifying. “Sharing power, out of love” just might be. As might be the idea of a God whose power is sufficient to sustain a world in which everything is bound and knitted together in love.
The corollary of this latter idea, though, is that not even God can keep things together where there is no love. Or: where the only love that exists is God’s, the things formed by it cannot last.
Surrendering control, in the name of love: perhaps this is what being God is really all about.