Imagining God as a Worker


I’m remiss in notifying HT of my new blog series at TGR, in which I invite the faith and work movement to imagine God in new ways based on our insight that we are made for work because we are made in God’s image and God is a worker (John 5:17).

In the first post, I describe how the way we imagine God has far-reaching effects on our lives:

Do we imagine God as a worker? Or do we imagine him as a passive force? A Zeus sitting atop Olympus, commanding us to work so he can recline and drink ambrosia? A huge Neo-Platonic light bulb at the center of the universe, obvious to the rays of illumination he broadcasts? C.S. Lewis once received a letter from a young girl who said she imagined God as a vast tapioca pudding; to make matters worse, she hated tapioca…

If we picture Zeus reclining atop Olympus, it’s not long before we picture him chasing skirts, and then we do the same. If we picture God as a light bulb, it’s not long before “he” becomes an “it” and the light we really chase after is the will-o-the-wisp within.

In the second, I explore the implications of the scriptural image of God as a shepherd:

The first thing that stands out to me here is Willard and Black’s suggestion that God’s omniscience includes practical knowledge. Like many, I tend to think of God’s omniscience in terms of his knowing things in the abstract – he knows all the facts, he knows all the principles, he knows all the logical connections. But although God does know all things in the way a computer or a philosopher knows things, God also knows all things the way a shepherd knows things. That is, he also knows those kinds of things. In our cultural terms, he knows how to change a tire, analyze a chemical sample or mow the grass. He knows the right way to phrase a delicate inquiry or when is the right time for a difficult conversation.

As we learn and practice these kinds of knowledge – “know-how” – we are delving into the mind of God.

Future installments will consider God as presented in the Bible through images of other kinds of workers, from farmer to king.

1 Thought.

  1. If you want to know who God is, look at Jesus. If you want to know what it means to be human, look at Jesus. If you want to know what love is, look at Jesus. If you want to know what grief is, look at Jesus. And go on looking until you’re not just a spectator, but you’re actually part of the drama which has him as the central character. — N.T. Wright

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